Linde Plc targets 8-12 percent EPS growth in 2019 on cost cuts

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde Plc, the industrial gases group created from the merger of Linde AG and Praxair, is targeting 8-12 percent growth in 2019 earnings per share thanks to cost cuts, even as revenue growth slows, it said on Friday.

In presentation slides on its website, Linde also said 2018 adjusted pro-forma income from continued operations rose to $3.44 billion, up 8.3 percent from $3.17 billion in 2017.

Pro-forma revenues for the combined group advanced 4.7 percent to $28.15 billion last year, according to the slides.

Sales growth will slow this year due to currency headwinds and lower global industrial production, partially offset by higher prices and a project backlog, it said.

“Cost and capital structure synergies, combined with a lower share count, will all contribute to the improvement and profit margins should steadily increase through the year,” Finance Chief Matt White said on a conference call.

Linde said earlier on Friday that antitrust restrictions requiring it to hold the two businesses separately were lifted, allowing it to start integrating globally.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter