Air Products (
) is well known for supplying various gases to industries, but it
also boasts decades of experience in materials science and
Expertise in specialty surfactants, specialty amines, epoxy
curatives and other compounds has enabled the Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
company to serve a wider array of markets, including food,
building products and personal care products.
Recently, though, Air Products is emphasizing its success in
foreign markets. In the September-ended fiscal fourth quarter,
Air Products noted contract wins in China as well as "major
hydrogen wins" in India and Canada.
Q4 sales slipped 1%, the first drop in five quarters, due to
lower volumes and a 2% impact caused by the company's decision to
exit the polyurethane intermediates business.
Air Products' annual sales peaked at $10.41 billion in fiscal
2008, then fell 21% the next year as the economy crashed. But
sales are climbing back, up 6% in fiscal 2013 to $10.18 billion.
Wall Street sees 2014 sales up 4% to $10.55 billion.
Consensus annual profit estimates for Air Products have been
lowered recently. Earnings are seen rising 6% in fiscal 2014 and
up 10% in fiscal 2015. Air Products also boasts an exceptional
3-year earnings stability factor of 1 on a scale of zero (stable)
to 99 (volatile).
Several A-rated mutual funds have added to their positions,
including JPMorgan Equity Income Fund and ClearBridge Large Cap
Value Fund. Also in the third quarter, 131 funds built new
positions, including American Beacon Large Cap Value Fund.
In March, Air Products' board hiked the quarterly dividend by
11% to 71 cents a share. It marked the 31st consecutive year that
the company increased its cash payout to common shareholders. The
annual yield is 2.6%.
The stock has gained 28% since cracking through resistance at
90 in early May. Institutions have supported it during recent
declines to the 50-day moving average.