Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
) has announced the opening of a 1200-square-meter advanced gas
applications laboratory within its Asia Technology Center in the
Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai, China. The new laboratory is
aimed at enhancing productivity and efficiency and also meeting
the growing demand in China and other Asian markets.
The laboratory will be equipped with state-of-the-art research
and development (R&D) capabilities and will cater to the
markets with high growth rates (including the ones specified in
China's 12th Five-Year Plan) over the next several years. Such
markets will include metals processing and fabrication,
electronics packaging and assembly, and industrial
The laboratory will also have a newly-added welding center to
enhance the development of welding technologies. The welding
center will host live demonstrations that will be conducted by
Air Products' fabrication applications specialists. The
laboratory will also feature applications for the continuous
development of China's strategic metal fabrication market.
The newly opened facility will increase R&D capabilities
across Asia and China. Air Products has been making efforts to
enhance the R&D development of China's industrial gases
industry in a number of ways. These include R&D partnerships,
scholarships, and recruitment programs with leading universities
The new laboratory represents expansion to the Asia Technology
Center, which is the second-largest R&D facility for Air
Products in the world.
Air Products provides atmospheric, process and specialty
gases; performance materials; equipment; and technology products.
The company, in October 2012, released its fourth-quarter fiscal
2012 results (ended September 30, 2012). It logged adjusted
earnings from continued operations of $1.42 a share for the
quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a couple of
Consolidated net income, as reported, plunged 57% year over
year to $138.7 million or 65 cents a share, pummeled by hefty
one-time charges. The company reported a profit of $324.8 million
or $1.51 a share a year ago.
Revenues rose 4% to $2,606 million, beating the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $2,574 million. The revenue growth was
attributable to higher volumes in the Tonnage Gases, Equipment
and Energy, and Electronics and Performance Materials divisions
as well as sales increases due to acquisitions, partly offset by
the impact of unfavorable currency. The company witnessed
sluggish manufacturing activity in the quarter.
For fiscal 2013, Air Products plans to take a number of steps
including execution of its new Tonnage investments and sustained
improvement in its Electronics and Performance Materials unit to
attain better productivity. The company expects that its recent
strategic moves will act favorably for future growth and
profitability despite the weak macroeconomic backdrop.
Air Products, which competes with
), currently carries a short-term (1 to 3 months) Zacks #3 Rank
(Hold). We currently have a long-term (more than 6 months)
Underperform recommendation on the stock.
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