By Dow Jones Business News,
January 28, 2014, 07:15:00 AM EDT
Air Products Profit Rises 4.3% on Improved Operating Margin
By Everdeen Mason
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. ( APD ) said its fiscal first-quarter earnings climbed 4.3% as the industrial-gas
provider's improved operating margins offset a slight decline in revenue.
The company, whose products include oxygen, helium and welding and cutting gases, backed its full-year earnings
outlook of $5.70 to $5.90 a share. Second-quarter earnings are expected to be $1.32 to $1.37 a share, compared with $
1.44 a share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Chief Executive John McGlade said Air Products' cost reduction efforts and signings helped boost profits, and said the
company was bringing on new plants in China. Mr. McGlade said in September he planned to retire this year and the
company will add three new independent directors.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Air Products reported earnings of $290.2 million, or $1.35 a share, up from $278.3
million, or $1.33 a share, a year earlier. Discontinued operations remained flat at a profit of a penny a share.
The company had predicted per-share adjusted earnings between $1.30 and $1.35.
Sales slid to $2.55 billion from $2.56 billion a year ago as slightly lower volumes and stable pricing offset higher
energy pass-through. Analysts recently expected $2.57 billion in revenue.
The operating margin widened to 15.1% from 14.5% as input costs fell 1.8%.
Sales in the company's merchant gases segment rose 3.8% to $1.05 billion. Air Products' tonnage gases segment, which
provides gases to refineries and steelmaking industries, reported a 10% drop in revenue. Sales in electronics and
performance materials increased 5.5%.
Shares closed Monday at $106.24 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 21% over the past 12 months.
Write to Everdeen Mason at email@example.com
Corrections & Amplifications
This item was corrected at 8:19 a.m. ET because the original misstated the change in operating margin in the headline.
The metric increased.
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