By Olivia Bugault
Air Liquide SA said Wednesday that net profit rose in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic and that it will propose a dividend.
Net profit at the French industrial-gas company increased 8.6% at 2.44 billion euros ($2.96 billion) in 2020, it said. Analysts had seen net profit at EUR2.35 billion, according to a consensus of 15 analyst estimates provided by FactSet.
Revenue for the year stood at EUR20.49 billion, down 1.3% compared with last year on a comparable basis, Air Liquide said. Analysts had seen full-year revenue at EUR20.44 billion, according to a consensus of 16 estimates taken from FactSet.
"In 2021, in a context of limited local lockdowns in the first half of the year and recovery in the second half, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to further increase its operating margin and to deliver recurring net profit growth, at constant exchange rates," the company said.
Air Liquide proposed a dividend for 2020 of EUR2.75 per share, up 1.9% compared with the year prior.