), the supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and
hardgoods, declared that its operating units will increase the
prices on helium by 20%. This increase is for countering rising
costs for obtaining and distributing the gas.
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Helium, which is lighter than air, is used in everything from
party balloons to MRI machines. However, supply chain disruptions
remain a challenge to the industry due to global shortage and
resulting allocations of helium.
The price rise by Airgas reflects the action taken by the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM). BLM, which supplies a significant
portion of helium in the U.S., is charging helium refiners more
for the gas.
In addition, supplier allocations and constantly changing supply
and demand geographies are incurring greater distribution
expenses to carry the gas from its place of production to its
customers. The price jump will take effect immediately, but the
exact price changes may differ depending on market conditions or
Airgas is optimistic about future prospects in the U.S.
manufacturing and energy industries, as well as non-residential
construction, unique value proposition and a less challenging
platform. However, it will continue to face risks from helium
supply constraints and a larger-than-expected R-22 impact.
Radnor, Pa.-based Airgas through its subsidiaries, distributes
gases as a well as hardgoods to diverse businesses in the U.S.
The company also markets its products and services through
e-business, catalog and telesales channels.
Airgas currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
However, better-ranked stocks in the same industry are
Asahi Kasei Corporation
Johnson Matthey plc
). While Asahi Kasei and Johnson Matthey carry a Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy), BASF SE holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).