2018 was a tremendously successful and dynamic year for Linde India and indeed The Linde Group. We reached a new milestone in our Company’s legacy, the legal closing of the historic merger between the holding company of your company, Linde AG and Praxair Inc., to form Linde pic.
As a part of the approval process from various regulators across the globe, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) also granted its approval to the proposed business combination between Linde AG and Praxair, Inc., subject to the divestment of certain assets of Linde India. Your Company has appointed an independent financial advisor to assist in the divestment of the assets through a rigorous and transparent process to derive the best possible value for these assets, subject to final approval from the shareholders. The process for divestment is currently underway.
Your Company is currently evaluating potential future integration plans for realising the synergies between Linde India and Praxair India. We are considering the various potential options and their impact towards achieving this goal and we will communicate further developments in the coming months.
I am delighted to report that Linde India’s Gases and Project Engineering Division (PED) recorded satisfactory growth in its overall revenues in 2018. The positive momentum in the steel and automobile industries has continued to deliver healthy growth for your Company’s underlying gases business; while robust growth in revenue of PED was driven by the commercialisation of air separation and nitrogen plants commissioned in the steel and refinery sectors. PED has also benefited from the support from Linde Engineering and had orders valued at over Rs.6,000 million as at 31 December 2018. While the operating profit for the year stood at Rs.3,490.09 million, the profit after taxes after exceptional items for the year under review amounted to Rs.471.70 million. The net profit for the year at Rs.334.86 million also compares well with the previous year.
Your Company continues to leverage application technology and has secured new business in a number of “firsts” in various industries. I am pleased to report that we have won our first major customer in the refinery sector to enhance sulphur recovery with Linde’s oxygen enrichment application; a key customer has invested in our Instant Quick Freezing application, cryogenic freezing with liquid nitrogen, and we have acquired our first nitrogen application for tyre curing.
Looking ahead, we will continue to build on our tradition of success at Linde India. Our success is anchored on a strong foundation of integrity, one of the core values of Linde. Your Company remains focused on driving profitable growth safely, improving operational efficiency and operating ethically at all times to increase profit margins.
You would have taken note of my decision to retire from the Board of Linde India. This has been a difficult decision for me but in consideration of my broadened responsibilities, it is the right one. It has been my privilege to serve on the Board of Linde India and as its Chairman. I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for their wise counsel and support, and you, our shareholders, for your encouragement and placing your trust in Linde India. Rest assured that our mission to Make the World More Productive will continue to generate sustainable, profitable returns you expect from our Company.
15 April 2019