Linde India Limited: In May 2021, amid the severe oxygen shortage in India during the COVID-19 crisis, retail investors were hastily purchasing stocks associated with the term ‘oxygen.’ Linde India experienced a remarkable 70% surge in its stock value during this period.

During the initial wave of the pandemic, the company supplied 300 tonnes of liquid oxygen daily across the country. By year-end, its cylinder business saw a 25% increase in volume and a 32% rise in revenue. In response to the unprecedented demand surge during the second wave of COVID-19, Linde India dramatically increased its daily liquid medical oxygen supply to 1,700 tonnes.

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Apart from gaining recognition during the pandemic, the company’s stock has delivered an impressive return of 1086% from the COVID-19 low. Over the past year, the stock has witnessed a substantial 73% increase. Now, let’s delve into the company’s business and explore its prospects for the future.

Linde India Limited

Corporate Overview

Linde India Limited, previously known as BOC India Limited, is an integral member of Linde Plc. and holds a prominent position as one of India’s leading industrial gas companies. 

The company combines Linde Plc.’s cutting-edge technology, deep understanding of customer businesses, and robust local expertise in gases and engineering to provide tailor-made solutions. These solutions aim to enhance efficiency, productivity, and flexibility in customer operations, all while reducing energy costs and prioritizing environmental sustainability.

Diverse Product Portfolio

Linde India is actively involved in the manufacturing and distribution of a diverse array of gases, including oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, argon, and specialty gas mixtures. In addition to gases, the company manufactures welding electrodes, rods, fluxes, gas and electric welding equipment, and even liquid oxygen explosives.

Business Segments

Gases and Related Products

The Gases and Related Products segment encompasses various facets of the business. This includes providing pipeline gas supplies (Onsite) to major industrial clients in industries such as primary steel, glass, and chemicals. 

Additionally, Linde India supplies liquefied gases through cryogenic tankers (Bulk) to cater to mid-size demands across a wide range of industrial sectors. The company also delivers compressed gas in cylinders (Packaged Gas) to meet smaller demand primarily in the fabrication, manufacturing, and construction industries. 

With 35 production facilities and filling stations nationwide, including the largest air separation plant at Jamshedpur, Linde India boasts the largest sales and distribution network in the country.

Project Engineering Division (PED)

The Project Engineering Division (PED) focuses on designing, supplying, installing, and commissioning tonnage air separation units (ASU) of medium to large size. This division is also involved in projects related to setting up nitrogen plants, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants, and gas distribution systems. 

Furthermore, PED manufactures cryogenic vessels for both in-house use and external sales. The division’s operations span designing, engineering, supplying, installing, and commissioning Air Separation Units and related projects on a turnkey basis, particularly in the steel and oil and gas sectors.

In essence, Linde India stands poised at the forefront of the industrial gases sector, offering comprehensive solutions and leveraging advanced technologies to meet the diverse needs of its customers.

Linde India Limited – Financials

Mar 2023Dec 2021Dec 2020Dec 2019
Revenue (in ₹crore)3,1362,1121,4711,762
Net Profit (in ₹crore)536514156727

Source: Annual Report

In February 2022, Linde India encountered a new global challenge in the form of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, resulting in heightened prices of crucial inputs, notably energy. Despite this, the company achieved a noteworthy revenue of ₹3,136 crore from operations in FY22, marking a substantial increase from the previous year’s ₹2,112 crore and showcasing an impressive growth rate of 48.5%. 

Linde’s stock demonstrated positive returns in seven of the last eight years, with the sole exception being 2019, which experienced a slight decrease of 2.7%.

Simultaneously, there was a commendable upswing in net profit, registering a 4.3% rise from ₹514 crore in 2021 to ₹536 crore in FY2023. In FY23, Servotech maintained robust financial indicators, boasting a solid Return on Equity (ROE) of 17.13%, marking a notable increase of 270 basis points from 14.43% in the calendar year 2021. 

The Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) also witnessed a substantial surge, escalating from 14.04% to 17.75% in FY2023. Reflecting a strong balance sheet, the company’s debt-to-equity ratio for the same financial year stood at 0.01.

Linde India Limited – Future Plans

In the future Linde India Limited expects the industrial gas market to grow by 9 percent. With the consolidation, productivity improvement, and expansion in the steel sector (SAIL, Tata Steel, Vedanta, etc.,) there are improved opportunities as gas demand increases.

With the Indian auto industry expected to reach 24 Trillion INR by 2023, SPC and Argon demand is expected to remain strong. Also, the company expects growth in SPC products (Ammonia, Silane, Nitrous Oxide) along with an increase in nitrogen opportunities (LIN/plant sale/Onsite).

The company is poised to seize numerous opportunities, with a specific focus on the healthcare sector, where it holds a substantial presence in medical oxygen. The supply of medical oxygen to hospitals has been a pivotal driver of the healthcare business. 

Despite a 22% decline in healthcare revenues in FY22 compared to FY21, as market volumes normalized post the pandemic-induced surge in FY21, Linde India remains optimistic about leveraging its position in medical oxygen.

Anticipating increased demand for industrial gases, the company envisions capitalizing on opportunities in the steel sector through consolidation, productivity enhancement, and expansion initiatives. Linde India has identified key priorities, including tapping into the rapidly growing pharmaceutical market, meeting the escalating demand from the chemical and paint industries, and gearing up to cater to the railway and defense sectors.

In the bulk segment, the company is actively pursuing merger and acquisition opportunities. One strategic approach involves the implementation of de-captivation, a system where another company takes over and operates a plant, aiming to boost operational efficiency. Linde India is also eyeing growth prospects in areas such as electronics and photovoltaic cell manufacturing.

Demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, Linde India achieved a 9% reduction in energy intensity in FY22, along with a notable 12% reduction in water consumption. The company has aligned its initiatives with global decarbonization targets, achieving a 15% reduction in scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity compared to the previous year. Scope 1 encompasses direct GHG emissions, while Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the energy purchased.

The company’s green initiatives serve as an additional positive aspect, complementing its overall business strategy. So what do you think about the company’s future? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Written by Nalin Suriya S.

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