The international large-scale engineering business is a late-cycle sector. Here, the market climate stabilized over the course of 2010.
Linde saw a marked rise in investment activity in smaller and medium-size projects across all four main lines of business (olefin plants, natural gas plants, air separation plants, and hydrogen and synthesis gas plants).
The Engineering Division reported sales of EUR 2.461bn in 2010, thus exceeding the prior-year figure (2009: EUR 2.311bn) by 6.5 percent.
The successful execution of a number of individual projects meant that operating profit grew faster than sales, rising 29.0 percent to EUR 271m (2009: EUR 210m). At 11.0 percent (2009: 9.1 percent), the operating margin again significantly exceeded the target figure of 8 percent.
Order intake was EUR 2.159bn at the end of the year (2009: EUR 2.458bn). When comparing these figures, it should be noted that order intake in 2009 was largely shaped by several major projects. One major contract for an olefin plant in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), for example, was alone worth USD 1.075bn. During the year under review, however, new orders were spread over a broader basis with numerous contracts for smaller and medium-size plants.
New orders were concentrated in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region, both accounting for around 27 percent respectively of contract wins. Some 20 percent of new business was attributable to the Middle East.
Almost 60 percent of all contracts awarded during the period under review were for olefin and air separation plants. The remaining 40 percent were evenly divided across the other lines of business.
Linde continues to report a high order backlog. At 31 December 2010, this figure was EUR 3.965bn (2009: 4.215bn).