Linde PLC (NYSE:LIN) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
May 10, 2019 • 09:00 am ET
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q1 2019 Linde Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]
I would now like to introduce for today's conference, Juan Pelaez. Please, go ahead.
Thanks, Chris. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for attending our first quarter earnings call and webcast. This is Juan Pelaez, Head of Investor Relations, and I am joined this morning by Steve Angel, Chief Executive Officer, and Matt White, Chief Financial Officer.
Today's presentation materials are available on our website at Linde.com in the Investor's Section. Please read the Forward-Looking Statement disclosure on page 2 of the slides and note that it applies to all statements made during this teleconference. The reconciliations of the adjusted pro forma numbers are in the appendix of this presentation. Steve and Matt will now review Linde's first quarter results and provide a full-year outlook. We will then be available to answer questions.
Let me know turn the call over to Steve.
Stephen F. Angel
Thanks, Juan. Just a few comments before I turn it over to Matt. Our whole separate order was lifted on March 1st, so the first quarter contains only one month of combined operations. Good start to the year, 12% EPS growth, some positive leverage from sales to operating profit as a result of pricing and cost synergies. We paid $477 million in dividends and purchased $700 million of stock, in addition to the $600 million purchase in December of last year.
The backlog remains healthy at $3.5 billion. This excludes a project that many of you have heard about, which is a project with ExxonMobil in Singapore that's value to us will be about $1.4 billion of capital investment. Jurong Island in Singapore is ExxonMobil's largest integrated manufacturing complex and it's anchored by a 600,000 barrel per day refinery. They are investing $5 billion in their largest downstream project, which goes by the acronym of KRISK [phonetic]. We are building four gasifiers to tie into two existing gasifiers that Linde operates today. We will be taking pitch from ExxonMobil and returning hydrogen, OXXO Gas, and nitrogen to ExxonMobil as well as hydrogen and carbon monoxide to multiple customers via our pipeline system. You can see our project is very much integrated into ExxonMobil's new project.
This project will be executed by Linde Engineering. We see a solid return anchored by a base facility fee structure and we expect contract signing to be in the next 30 to 60 days. Regarding key milestones. We completed the squeeze-out of our minority-Linde AG shareholders on April 8th. We announced the divestiture of our South Korea assets on April 30th, which represents about 75% of the expected value from our required divestitures in Asia. All our employees are excited about the merger. We see a strong pull for application technologies as we begin to appreciate each other's capabilities, a strong pull for plant capabilities, and best practices in every aspect of our business.
We are currently working through a very detailed cost and restructuring initiatives. We