FRANKFURT, May 6 (Reuters) - Germany's Linde, the world's No. 2 industrial gases producer, reported on Monday a 12.6 percent gain in first-quarter operating profit, boosted by last year's acquisition of U.S.-based Lincare.
Operating profit for the three months through March came to 953 million euros ($1.25 billion), exceeding an average analyst estimate of 921 million euros in a Reuters poll.
Lincare, a provider of oxygen and respiratory therapy services to patients in the home, contributed 397 million euros of Linde's first-quarter sales of 3.99 billion euros.
$1 = 0.7624 euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan