Linde Plc ups profit guidance on merger benefits

FILE PHOTO: Linde Group logo is seen at a company building in Munich-Pullach, Germany August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde Plc, the industrial gases group created from the merger of Linde AG and Praxair, on Friday lifted its full-year outlook for earnings per share, citing efficiency gains from the merger.

In presentation slides posted on its website, the U.S.-German group said it was targeting 9%-13% growth in 2019 earnings per share, up from a previous guidance range of 8%-12% percent, citing an improved capital structure and better synergies.

In a separate statement, it said first-quarter income from continuing operations, adjusted for one-off items such as merger-related charges, rose by 11% to $927 million.

Pro forma sales stagnated at $6.91 billion, but were up 5% when excluding unfavorable currency translation effects, the group said in a statement on Friday.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Michelle Martin