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Oct. 23, 2020, 1:57 a.m. EDT

Air Liquide revenue falls, sees flat profit ahead

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By Joshua Kirby

Air Liquide SA said Friday that third-quarter revenue fell as a result of currency effects and energy prices, and that it sees 2020 net profit at almost the same level as the previous year.

Group revenue came to 4.98 billion euros ($5.89 billion) down 8.7% on a reported basis or 0.9% on a comparable basis, the French industrial-gas supplier said.

The result was slightly higher than expectations of EUR4.86 billion, according to a FactSet-compiled consensus of six analysts' estimates.

Revenue in its gas-and-services activities, which represent the majority of the business, stood at EUR4.78 billion, down 8.9% reported, or 0.9% comparable.

Air Liquide Chairman and Chief Executive Benoit Potier said all business lines and geographic regions improved compared with the previous quarter, when the impact of the pandemic was greater.

Mr. Potier said the company expected full-year net profit to be close to the level achieved in 2019, and also expected to further increase its operating margin, in a context of "limited local lockdowns" and progressive recovery until the end of the year.

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