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Air Products 3Q Profit Up 29%, Raises Full-Year Outlook Again

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Air Products & Chemicals Inc.'s (APD) fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 29% on continued volume growth in Asia and higher sales in its electronics and performance materials and tonnage segments. The industrial-gas maker also raised its fiscal-year earnings outlook to $5.70 to $5.75 a share, up 5 cents from its April view. For the fourth quarter, it projected a per-share profit between $1.48 and $1.53, bracketing the $1.52 estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Air Products has posted expectation-beating results on increased volume in recent quarters as its merchant gases business--its largest by revenue--continues to grow in Asia. The company, which withdrew its $5.9 billion hostile takeover offer for rival Airgas Inc. (ARG) earlier this year, has had to raise prices to keep up with rising raw material costs. For the quarter ended June 30, Air Products reported a profit of $326.5 million, or $1.50 a share, up from $253.2 million, or $1.17 a share, a year earlier. The latest results included a 4 cent per-share gain in discontinued operations on a tax benefit, while the year-ago period included a loss on the Airgas transaction and other items. The company in April predicted earnings of $1.42 and $1.47. Revenue rose 14% to $2.58 billion, ahead of analysts' projection of $2.52 billion. Operating margin widened to 16.3% from 14.9%. Sales in Air Products' merchant gases business rose 12%, driven by higher volume in Asia. The company's tonnage gases segment, which sells hydrogen, synthesis gas and carbon monoxide to refineries and other large manufacturers, reported a 20% revenue increase. Sales in the electronics and performance materials segment rose 21% while sales in the equipment and energy segment fell 31%. Shares closed at $95.41 on Thursday and were inactive premarket. Through Thursday's close, the stock has gained 33% over the past 12 months. -By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287;

Stock News for Air Products (APD)
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