By Bartosz Dabrowski and Andrey Sychev
(Reuters) -Germany’s Linde, on Tuesday forecast higher earnings for 2023 and said it plans to invest $7-$9 billion over the next two-to-three years in clean energy projects to benefit from demand from companies seeking to cut emissions.
Chief Executive Sanjiv Lamba said on a conference call that as part of that investment, Linde plans to spend $3 billion to convert 11 to 13 existing assets to clean hydrogen.
Stock in Frankfurt-listed Linde, the world’s largest industrial gases company, jumped by 4% after the CEO’s investment comments and were up 2% as of the market close at 1630 GMT.
Countries are looking to curb greenhouse gases and scale up renewables across polluting sectors to meet the European Union’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050, and more recently to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian-sourced oil and gas.
Linde on Monday said it would invest $1.8 billion to supply clean hydrogen to OCI’s blue ammonia plant in the U.S. state of Texas, following 2022 deals with BASF, BP and Airbus.
The company, whose stock will be delisted from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange later this month and will only trade in New York, will benefit from the clean energy transition in the United States, especially after President Joe Biden signed the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last August, seen as the biggest climate change package in the country’s history.
The total investment opportunity for the German company in the United States alone could exceed $30 billion over the next decade, CEO Lamba said in late 2022.
On Tuesday, the group forecast 9-12% growth in 2023 earnings per share, excluding currency headwinds, also citing its balanced end-market portfolio, high network density and capital discipline.
It reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.16 per share, beating analysts’ $2.91 per share estimate in a Refinitiv poll.
(Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski and Andrey Sychev in Gdansk; Editing by Milla Nissi and Sharon Singleton)