When analysts speak of “lack of credibility” and “crisis of confidence,” it signals rough times for a company’s management, even at Germany’s well-regarded Linde Group.
The Munich-based firm, a world leader supplier of industrial gases and engineering services, had been a darling among investors. Its long-term delivery contracts for gas products, used in industry and health care, promised both stability and rising revenues.
But last November, its chief executive, Wolfgang Büchele, ignited an investor firestorm when he issued the company’s second profit warning in 13 months. Linde’s stock, which is listed on the DAX blue-chip index of leading German companies, plunged more than at any time in the past 14 years.
“Everyone was shocked,” said Heiko Feber, an analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, a private bank.
The situation at Linde hasn’t improved since – in fact, it might be worse. “During the fourth quarter, there was quite a ruckus in company management,” a source familiar with the situation told Handelsblatt.