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Linde FY17 Profit From Cont. Opns. Up 15.7%; Hikes Dividend - Quick Facts

German gas and engineering company Linde Group (LDE.L,LNAGF.PK) reported that its profit from continuing operations for fiscal year 2017 rose 15.7 percent to 1.54 billion euros from 1.33 billion euros last year.

Earnings per share for continuing operations increased to 7.56 euros from 6.50 euros in the prior year. The increase in profit was due to the U.S. tax reform.

Group operating profit from continuing operations grew to 4.21 billion euros from 4.10 billion euros in the prior year.

Group revenue from continuing operations rose to 17.11 billion euros from 16.95 billion euros last year. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, group revenue was 2.1 percent higher than in 2016.

The main factors contributing to this performance were continuing positive trends in the EMEA and Asia/Pacific segments and in the Engineering Division.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, Linde Group forecast that after adjusting for the effects of IFRS 15 and exchange rate effects, Group revenue is expected to be similar to that achieved in 2017 or to increase by up to 4 percent.

Fiscal 2018 group operating profit after adjusting for exchange rate effects is expected to be in a range similar to that achieved in 2017 or to increase by up to 5 percent.

Linde Group noted that due to the proposed merger with Praxair and the antitrust conditions which will be imposed as a result, assets will come up for sale in the course of the 2018 financial year.

This may lead to an adjustment being made to the forecast. The completion of merger with Praxair still planned for the second half of 2018.

The company's Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose a resolution at the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of 7.00 euros per share be paid.

In economic terms, the proposed dividend comprises a distribution for the 2017 financial year of 3.90 euros per Linde share, compared to 3.70 euros in 2016, plus a distribution of the expected dividend relating to three quarters of the 2018 financial year of 3.10 euros per Linde share.

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