Founded in 1902, Air Liquide is a French company specialising in industrial gases. On a global scale, the group is the leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health. It operates in 78 countries and has more than 64,500 employees worldwide. In addition, during 2020, the company showed great resilience in the face of the Covid-19 health crisis. This enabled the company to post solid results for the year as a whole. Find out more about the company's key annual figures here.
For the full twelve months of the 2020 financial year, Air Liquide Group's revenues amounted to €20,485 million, compared to €21,920 million the previous year. 21,920 million the previous year. This represents a year-on-year decline of 1.3% (on a comparable basis). The company's current operating profit was 3,790 million euros in 2020. 3,790 million in 2020, an increase of 3.6% (on a like-for-like basis).
For the year 2020, the specialist in gases for industry and health recorded an operating profit of 3,650 million euros, compared to 3,606 million euros a year earlier. The tax rate was 21.1%, compared to 25.5% in 2019. In addition, Air Liquide recorded strong growth in its net income, group share.
It reached €2,435 million for the full year, compared to €2,242 million in 2019. This is an increase of 8.6% year-on-year. Net earnings per share amounted to 5.16 euros, compared to 4.76 euros a year earlier. 4.76 a year earlier, an increase of 8.5%.
As for the group's recurring net profit, it amounts to 2 341 million euros for the year 2020, compared to 2 307 million euros in 2019. It shows a slight increase of 1.5% over the one-year period. The group's operating margin increased by 120 basis points to 18.5% from 17.3% a year earlier. This increase was mainly driven by cost reductions. Excluding the energy effect, it stood at 18.1% in 2020.
For the full year 2020, Gas & Services (G&S) revenue reached 19,656 million euros. This performance was driven in particular by the Healthcare division, whose sales rose by 8.5% during the year. This growth was driven by sales to hospitals of medical oxygen to treat patients suffering from the coronavirus.
In detail by geographic region, Gas & Services revenue in Europe was 6.8 billion euros, up 35%. In the Americas, revenue increased by 40% to 7.8 billion euros.
In Asia-Pacific, this branch of the group generated a turnover of 4.5 billion euros in 2020. 4.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 22%. In the Middle East & Africa region, sales rose by 3% year-on-year. In the fourth quarter of 2020, G&S sales increased by 1.6%. For the full year under review, G&S's operating margin was 20.4%, compared to 19.1% in 2019.
In 2020, Engineering & Construction sales amounted to €250 million, compared to €328 million in 2019. 328 million in 2019, down 23.7% year-on-year. In the fourth quarter of 2020, they increased by 24% to 86 million euros. Order intake also rose sharply by 16% to €393 million in the quarter.
Sales in Global Markets and Technology increased in the year 2020. They reached 579 million euros, compared to 552 million euros in the previous year. 552 million in the previous year, an increase of 5.0% compared to 2019.
In Q4-2020, Global Markets and Technologies sales amounted to €187 million, up 6%. This development was driven in particular by the dynamism of the biogas business. On the other hand, order intake fell by 30% to €113 million during the quarter.
At the end of fiscal year 2020, the Air Liquide Group's cash flow from operations is estimated at € 4,932 million, compared to € 4,859 million a year earlier. At the end of December 2020, net cash flow from operating activities amounted to €5,206 million, compared to €4,712 million for the same period last year.
Net cash flow from investing activities was €1,955 million at 31 December 2020, compared to €2,585 million at the end of 2019. At the end of 2020, the company had a net cash position of €1,719 million, compared to €897 million a year earlier.
At the end of December 2020, the group's equity reached €19,005 million, compared to €19,324 million at the end of the 2019 financial year. The company's net debt was €10,609 million at the end of 2020, compared to €12,373 million a year earlier.
Air Liquide has announced an increase in its dividend in 2020. On the strength of the solid performance achieved over the year as a whole, the company's Board of Directors has decided to pay shareholders a dividend of €2.75 per share for the 2020 financial year. Compared to 2019, this is an increase of 1.9%.
In addition, the company has a strong presence on the equity markets. It is listed on the Paris stock exchange and is a component of the CAC 40 stock market index. In 2020 (as of December), its market capitalisation is estimated at EUR 63.589 billion.