Specialty chemical company
Air Products & Chemicals Inc.
) announced that it has lent its industry-leading hydrogen fueling
technology and infrastructure to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International,
Inc. facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The technology is expected to
convert a significant portion of a lift truck fleet at the plant.
The 72 converted lifts at the plant have started using
hydrogen-powered fuel cell, moving Mercedes vehicle parts for
assembly after the employees returned to the from an annual
week-long shutdown. Air Products' equipment and infrastructure
includes an outdoor liquid hydrogen storage and compression system,
as well as piping to multiple indoor fueling dispensers.
The material handling units at the plant are powered by Plug
Power's (PLUG) GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell, which can be quickly
refueled, without requiring to change, store, charge and maintain
multiple lead acid batteries for each lift. Air Products also
provides mobile fueling technology to Mercedes for initial fueling
before placing the permanent equipment on stream,
The usage of hydrogen-powered forklifts and material handling
equipment has a number of advantages. Hydrogen powered equipments
need refueling once or twice daily, depending on the usage while
the traditional battery-powered equipment requires battery
replacement or recharging approximately every four to six hours.
They provide consistent power strength and are free from any wear
down compared to battery units, which wear down quickly when
nearing change-out or recharge time.
Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are not affected by any temperature
changes while operational in coolers, freezers or arid warehouse
conditions, unlike battery-powered forklifts. They are also more
environment friendly and do not involve lead-acid battery storage
or disposal issues.
Air Products is the world's leading supplier of hydrogen for
processing cleaner burning transportation fuels and hydrogen
infrastructure and fueling technology. The company is fueling over
1,000 pieces of material handling equipment on a daily basis in the
U.S. The company also holds a leadership position in liquefied
natural gas technology and equipments.
In July 2012, the company released its third quarter 2012
results. The company reported adjusted (excluding one-time items)
earnings from continued operations of $1.41 a share for the
quarter, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Consolidated net income surged 48% year over year to $484.5
million or $2.26 a share compared with $326.5 million or $1.50 a
year ago. The increase in profits was attributable to lower costs
and one-time gains, which more than offset the impact of lower
Revenues dipped 5% year over year to $2,340.1 million, missing
the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,455 million. Challenging
conditions in Europe and Asia as well as unfavorable currency
weighed on the company's top line in the quarter.
Air Products' healthy project backlog and solid bidding activity
strongly positions it to achieve its long-term growth target. Given
its leading position in the gases business, the company is well
positioned to capitalize on the cyclical recovery in its core
industrial end markets.
Further, new business deals are expected to boost profits in
2012. However, soaring energy and raw material costs are likely to
Air Products, which competes with
), has a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy). Currently, we have a
long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.
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