UPDATE 1-Air Liquide expects to outperform market through 2020

Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:32am EST

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PARIS Dec 11 (Reuters) - Air Liquide pledged to outpace the market through 2020 as it focuses on products to help save energy, produce cleaner power and provide healthcare for ageing populations, as well as on emerging markets.

The French industrial gases group forecast average annual revenue growth of between 5 and 7 percent through 2015, compared with an estimated 1 to 2 percent for the market, rising to 6 to 9 percent in the following five years excluding currency impacts.

Air Liquide provides industrial gases used in the food, auto, chemical, oil and gas, aerospace, and semiconductor sectors, as well as in engineering and construction. It also supplies medical gases that help patients breathe, relieve pain or are used in anaesthesia.

In the period to 2015, the group is reducing costs by 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion) and has set an investment programme of 12 billion aimed at supporting medium-term growth.

Chief Executive Benoit Potier cited three key trends: industry globalisation and resource constraints, evolving consumption patterns and demographics, and a growing appetite for innovation.

"These trends are generating a new market dynamic in addition to the more traditional geographic approach that had prevailed up to now and which was focused on developing economies," he said in a statement ahead of a planned day of presentations to analysts and investors.

Shares in the company were up 0.6 percent at 98.11 euros by 0921 GMT after losing around 5 percent in the previous two weeks. ($1 = 0.7261 euros) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Hugh Lawson and David Holmes)

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