Industrial gas producer and supplier,
) subsidiary, Praxair Distribution Inc. strengthened its foothold
in Texas by acquiring Acetylene Oxygen Company for an undisclosed
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Acetylene is a Harlingen, Texas-based independent gas and
wielding products distributor in the United States. The company
was founded in 1932 by the Wolf family.
The acquisition of Acetylene will ease Praxair's access to the
former's twenty four operating areas in the central and southern
Texas, including four cylinder filling plants. In the last 12
months, Praxair made similar efforts in expanding its services in
the Texas region through the acquisition of National Alloy and
Texas Welders Supply Company in the second half of 2011.
Long-term growth prospects are bright for the company. Praxair's
policy of returning values to shareholders through dividends and
share buybacks as well as strategic acquisitions and joint
ventures have a good deal of potential and will also help the
company in achieving its long-term target of annual organic sales
growth of 8%-12% by 2015.
The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter 2012
is $1.38, representing a year-over-year growth of 1.8%. Estimates
for 2012 and 2013 are $5.57 and $6.19, reflecting annual growth
of 2.6% and 11.0%, respectively.
The stock also carries a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term
(1-3 months) Hold rating. Its prime competitor
Air Products & Chemicals Inc.
) has a Zacks #4 (Sell) rating. The company in its September
ending quarter reported earnings per share of $1.42, missing the
Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents. Estimate for the December
ending quarter currently stands at $1.29 per share.