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Air Liquide sales lag forecast on lower energy prices, currency hit

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Adds consensus for comparable sales in paragraph 4, division sales in paragraph 5, context in 6 and outlook in 7-8

By Olivier Cherfan

April 24 (Reuters) -French industrial gases supplier Air Liquide AIRP.PA reported a bigger-than-expected drop in first-quarter sales on Wednesday, citing a fall in energy prices and negative currency effects.

The company, which supplies gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen to factories and hospitals, said its published revenue fell 7.3% from a year earlier to 6.65 billion euros ($7.12 billion) in the January-March quarter.

Analysts polled by Vara Research had expected a 6.2% drop to 6.73 billion euros.

On a comparable basis, which excludes effects from energy prices and currency exchange, the sales were up 2.1%, matching analysts' expectations.

The Gas& Services segment, accounting for 96% of Air Liquide'sbusiness, reported 2% growth in comparable revenue on theback of a 6.3% increase the Americas region.

Air Liquide, one of the largest hydrogen producers in the world, is seen as a beneficiary of global energy transition investments, supported by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and the EU's net-zero emissions programme.

The company repeated that it aims to report growth in its operating margin and recurring net profit this year.

Air Liquide had doubled its 2025 margin target in February, while maintaining an annual sales growth target of 5% to 6% under its ADVANCE strategic plan.

($1 = 0.9342 euros)

Reporting by Olivier Cherfan; Editing by Milla Nissi


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