By Dow Jones Business News, October 29, 2013, 06:51:00 AM EDT
By Ben Fox Rubin
Air Products & Chemicals Inc.'s ( APD ) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell 1.2%, as the industrial-gas provider posted
weaker revenue and was weighed down by discontinued operations.
For the new year, the company predicted adjusted earnings of $5.70 to $5.90 a share, compared with estimates of $6.04
from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. First-quarter earnings are expected to come in at $1.30 to $1.35, below the
market forecast of $1.46.
In September, Chairman and Chief Executive John McGlade said he will retire next year and the company--whose products
include oxygen, helium and welding and cutting gases--would add three new independent directors. The moves came about
two months after activist investor William Ackman took a multibillion dollar stake in the company.
In late July, Mr. Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP bought a 9.8% stake in Air Products, drawing
attention to a large but little-understood company that has been struggling with sliding profits. A few days prior to
the purchase, Air Products disclosed it had installed a so-called poison pill--a strategy used by corporations to
discourage hostile takeovers--because of "unusual and substantial activity" in the company's shares.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Air Products reported a profit of $137.1 million, or 64 cents a share, versus a profit
of $138.7 million, or 65 a share, a year earlier. Discontinued operations losses were six cents a share, compared with a
profit of a penny a year ago.
Excluding restructuring costs, discontinued operations and other items, per-share earnings were $1.47, compared with $
1.42. The company had predicted per-share adjusted earnings between $1.44 and $1.50.
Revenue edged down 0.7% to $2.59 billion. Analysts recently expected $2.68 billion in revenue.
Sales in the company's merchant gases segment rose 3.6%. Air Products' tonnage gases segment, which provides gases to
refineries and steelmaking industries, reported 1.3% lower revenue. Sales in electronics and performance materials
Shares closed Monday at $109.54 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 30% this year.
Write to Ben Fox Rubin at email@example.com
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