Market Entrance South America

A starting point for market entrance in south america is our contact network of european south american trade and business opportunities

 

(Go to south america business network mainsite.)

 

WH SMITH is opening stores in South America as the group seeks new ways to expand its travel business where branches are located in airports, hotels and railway stations.

Smith's has quietly opened two stores in Chile, in Santiago airport and in a holiday complex in Costo de Campo. The retailer is also examining opportunities in Argentina.

The company has not announced the openings, which are described as a trial. The South American idea was apparently given a bumpy ride when it was presented to the Smith's board, but eventually given the go-ahead.

 
First Six Months Of 2007 - The Linde Group Continues Its Growth Trend

Wiesbaden, Germany, July 30, 2007 - (Hugin) - * Sales up 12.7 percent to 5.888 billion euro * Operating profit (EBITDA*) up 14.7 percent to 1.158 billion euro * Forecast for 2007 confirmed: further increase in sales and earnings expected

Munich, 30 July 2007 - The technology group The Linde Group has achieved double-digit growth in sales and operating profit in the first six months of 2007, in a seamless continuation of the positive trend from the first quarter. "Our dynamic business performance goes from strength to strength," said Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. "The message we can take from the half-year figures is clear. We have created an efficient organisation with a new group structure, which means that we are extremely well-placed to take full advantage of the opportunities for growth in the international industrial gases and plant construction industries."

The Linde Group confirms its previous forecast for the full year 2007: Group sales and earnings are once again expected to exceed prior year figures. Linde has set itself a medium-term target of achieving a Group operating profit for the 2010 financial year of more than 3 billion euro.

To ensure comparability of the Group's business performance, the prior year figures for sales and operating profit (EBITDA*) have been adjusted to take account of the new Group structure. The prior year figures therefore include the remaining core activities of BOC, while KION, the forklift truck division sold in 2006, the BOC Edwards components business and other companies sold as a result of the BOC deal have been eliminated from the figures.

On this basis, Group sales in the six months ending 30 June 2007 increased by 12.7 percent to 5.888 billion euro (2006: 5.223 billion euro). The Linde Group also achieved significant growth in earnings. Operating profit (EBITDA*) in the first six months of the year rose to 1.158 billion euro (2006: 1.010 billion euro). This represents an increase of 14.7 percent.

* EBITDA before non-recurring items, including share of net income from associates and joint ventures

Earnings before taxes on income (EBT) rose significantly from 316 million euro to 896 million euro. Two non-recurring items with opposite effects are included in this figure. On the one hand, EBT was reduced by an impairment loss of 201 million euro recognised in the course of the purchase price allocation of the BOC acquisition. On the other hand, the profit on the sale of parts of the business of 574 million euro had a positive impact.

Earnings after tax for the six months to June were 614 million euro, significantly above the prior year figure of 273 million euro. As a result, earnings per share increased to 3.66 euro (2006: 2.25 euro). After adjusting for non-recurring items, the figure for earnings per share was 2.18 euro. It should be noted here that the number of shares outstanding rose by approximately 40 million shares to around 161 million shares, mainly as a result of the increase in share capital in July 2006.

All the divisions contributed to the good overall business performance of the Group.

Gases Division In a global market environment which remained stable, sales in the Gases Division rose in the first six months of 2007 by 8.1 percent to 4.553 billion euro (2006: 4.212 billion euro). On a comparable basis, excluding exchange rate movements, changes in the price of natural gas and changes in the companies included in the consolidation, the global gases business of The Linde Group grew 7.9 percent. EBITDA* improved by 10.6 percent to 1.125 billion euro (2006: 1.017 billion euro). This represents an operating margin of 24.7 percent (2006: 24.1 percent). The business performance was positive in all the regions. In particular, the Gases Division achieved disproportionate increases in sales in the emerging markets.

In Europe, sales in the first six months of 2007 increased by 8.1 percent to 2.310 billion euro (2006: 2.137 billion euro). The greatest impetus continued to come from Eastern Europe, but dynamic trends were also to be seen in Germany and in Scandinavia. In North America, sales rose by 2.8 percent when compared with the prior year period to 1.057 billion euro (2006: 1.028 billion euro), although growth was slowed down by the effect of exchange rates. On a comparable basis, sales in North America increased by 7.3 percent. *EBITDA before non-recurring items, including share of net income from associates and joint ventures In South America, business grew 14.0 percent to 243 million euro (2006: 213 million euro). On a comparable basis, this represents an increase of 17.9 percent.

In Africa, which was adversely affected by exchange rates, the Gases Division achieved sales of 252 million euro, which was identical to the prior year figure. On a comparable basis, the increase in sales was 17.3 percent.

In the Asia/Pacific region, sales rose 18.4 percent to 740 million euro (2006: 625 million euro). On a comparable basis, the increase in sales was 9.5 percent.

In the first six months of 2007, the Gases Division also saw a good business performance in the individual product segments.

On a comparable basis, i.e. after adjusting for exchange rate movements, changes in the price of natural gas and changes in the companies included in the consolidation, the on-site business grew 9.3 percent. Bulk business sales increased by 6.8 percent, while cylinder gas sales rose 8.1 percent. The Healthcare section, our medical gases business, achieved sales growth of 8.8 percent.

Gases Division - Outlook Linde is anticipating annual growth of around 7 percent in the global gases industry in the next few years. The company is well-placed in all the important markets and product segments. Its medium-term objective remains in place. In the Gases Division, Linde wants to grow at a faster rate than the market and to increase earnings at a faster rate than sales revenue.

Engineering Division In the first six months of 2007, the Engineering Division has continued on its course towards dynamic earnings-based growth. Sales in the half-year to 30 June 2007 increased by 43.2 percent to 1.134 billion euro (2006: 792 million euro). EBITDA rose in the same period by 44.1 percent to 98 million euro (2006: 68 million euro).

The Engineering Division also again achieved a significant escalation in incoming orders, the most important indicator of future business performance, with an increase of 22.0 percent to 1.499 billion euro (2006: 1.229 billion euro). Orders on hand at 30 June 2007 stood at 4.700 billion euro (31 December 2006: 4.529 billion euro). This dynamic business performance was underpinned by a high level of demand in the main product segments: natural gas plants, ethylene plants, hydrogen plants and air separation plants.

Engineering Division - Outlook Given the high level of orders on hand and assuming the fulfilment of these orders on schedule, Linde continues to expect a significant increase in sales and earnings in the Engineering Division in future. Linde expects sales of at least 2.4 billion euro in the current financial year 2007 in the Engineering Division, boosted by the increase in stage of completion and subsequent billings on several major contracts in the second half of the year.

N.B. To coincide with the publication of our quarterly report, a teleconference for analysts will take place today at 4pm (German time) with Georg Denoke, Chief Financial Officer of Linde AG, in English. Journalists will have the opportunity to listen to the conference live by calling +49 (0)69 589 99 0509. Please tell the operator your name and the name of your company.

Following the teleconference, you will be able to hear a recording of the event by calling +49 (0)30 726 167 224. Please give the following reference number: 759704.

The Linde Group is a world-leading industrial gases, medical gases and engineering company with around 49,000 employees working in more than 70 countries worldwide. Following the acquisition of The BOC Group plc, the company has gases and engineering sales of around 12 billion euro per annum. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.

For more information, please see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com