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(Reuters) -Linde, the world’s largest industrial gases firm, hiked its 2021 earnings forecast on Thursday, as a robust efficiency in its healthcare and electronics companies helped it beat first quarter forecasts.

The U.S.-German firm, which provides gases resembling oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen to factories and hospitals, now expects adjusted earnings per share up 17-19% year-on-year – in contrast with its earlier forecast for 11-13% progress.

Greater costs and rising demand within the healthcare sector – the place Linde (NYSE:) provides gear and medical gases together with oxygen for COVID-19 sufferers – helped its gross sales in Europe, the Center East and Africa soar 10% within the first quarter.

In Asia-Pacific, gross sales grew 7% off a robust electronics market and mission start-ups.

For the second quarter, the corporate expects earnings per share to develop 32-34% from the identical interval of 2020.

“Wanting forward, I’ve confidence the corporate will proceed to create important shareholder worth for years to come back,” Linde’s chief govt Steve Angel stated in assertion.

Linde’s total earnings per share for January-March rose 32% to $2.49, beating analysts’ common estimate of $2.26 and its personal steerage.

For the final two years Linde has constantly overwhelmed consensus forecasts, in line with Refinitiv knowledge.

Linde’s greatest competitor, Air Liquide (OTC:), additionally beat analysts’ forecasts final month, pushed by sturdy demand for medical oxygen and an industrial rebound in China.

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