Net profit of French energy company Air Liquide grew by 3.1 percent to 1.64 billion euros (2.25 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013 on boosted activities in the United States and China and improved economic climate, the company announced Tuesday.
Last year, Air Liquide saw its consolidated revenue slightly down by 0.7 percent on reported basis while the number adjusted for currency and natural gas impacts, expanded 3.7 percent.
"Positively impacted by the high level of efficiency gains worth 303 million euros, the group's operating margin increased by 16.9 percent or gaining 20 basis points," its annual financial report showed.
In 2013, Air Liquide's main leading activity of gas and services witnessed a tepid performance with its revenue totaled 13.83 billion euros compared to 13.91 billion euros in 2012 while engineering and technology sector generated more 2.3 percent of revenue to 803 million euros confirming "the customers confidence over the medium term."
"The progress the group made during 2013 reflects the return to a more supportive economic climate during the year and an increase in the pace of growth in the United States and China," said Benoit Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group.
"We delivered another improvement in our operating income through a combination of our global presence, initiatives in growth markets and reinforced efficiency programs. This performance demonstrates that the group is aligned with its goals of regular improvement in its margin and of net profit growth," he added.
"Barring a degradation of the environment," Air Liquide, which operates in 80 countries across the world, said it was "confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2014."
It proposed a 2 percent rise in 2013 dividend to 2.55 euro per share. (1 euro = 1.372 U.S. dollar)