U.S. Markets closed

Linde Plc targets 8-12 percent EPS growth in 2019 on cost cuts

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde Plc, the industrial gases group created from the merger of Linde AG and Praxair, is targeting 8-12 percent growth in 2019 earnings per share thanks to cost cuts, even as revenue growth slows, it said on Friday.

In presentation https://www.lindeplc.com/-/media/linde/merger/documents/investors/linde-plc-investor-overview-fv.pdf?la=en&rev=a5c84aa5185149028008c04fb05fb9ab slides on its website, Linde also said 2018 adjusted pro-forma income from continued operations rose to $3.44 billion, up 8.3 percent from $3.17 billion in 2017.

Pro-forma revenues for the combined group advanced 4.7 percent to $28.15 billion last year, according to the slides.

Sales growth will slow this year due to currency headwinds and lower global industrial production, partially offset by higher prices and a project backlog, it said.

"Cost and capital structure synergies, combined with a lower share count, will all contribute to the improvement and profit margins should steadily increase through the year," Finance Chief Matt White said on a conference call.

Linde said earlier on Friday that antitrust restrictions requiring it to hold the two businesses separately were lifted, allowing it to start integrating globally.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter)