Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
) jumped after its board named Seifi Ghasemi its new chairman,
president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective Jul 1.
Ghasemi is currently the chairman and CEO of
Rockwood Holdings, Inc.
Air Products' shares shot up as much as 8% following the news to
hit a new 52-week high of $131.48. The stock eventually closed at
$130.72 yesterday, gaining 7.5%.
Ghasemi is a skilled leader with immense experience in managing a
global portfolio and exposure in industrial gases, specialty
chemicals and advanced materials industries. He worked with
Rockwood from 2001 and also held a number of eminent positions in
renowned global industrial companies, including the chairman and
CEO of GKN Sinter Metals, Inc., and a number of senior roles with
The BOC Group, which is now part of Linde AG.
Ghasemi, who has a reputation of achieving higher shareholder
returns and financial performance, was appointed as a member of Air
Products' board in Sep 2013. Ghasemi will succeed John E. McGlade
who served as the CEO of Air Products for 40 years.
Air Products, which remains challenged by high energy costs, had
been under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman - a major
shareholder in the company - to make changes in its management.
Ackman, in Feb 2014, said that Air Products' stock could double in
the next few years (to a $200+ territory) should it appoints the
Air Products benefits from a diverse customer base, sustained
pricing power and cost-reduction measures. New business deals and
strategic investments are expected to support results in fiscal
2014. Moreover, the acquisition of a 67% stake in Chilean
industrial gas company, Indura S.A., has ushered in substantial
growth opportunity for Air Products.
Air Products is also keeping a tight control on expenses and
undertaking work process improvement initiatives. Moreover, it
remains committed to maximizing shareholder return.
Air Products currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some other stocks worth considering in the chemical space
Compass Minerals International Inc.
Koninklijke DSM N.V.
). While Compass Minerals sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),
Koninklijke DSM has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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