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Praxair 4Q Net Surges, Offers Weak Outlook; Unveils Buyback

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Praxair Inc.'s (PX) fourth-quarter earnings surged as the industrial-gas supplier saw a comparably weak quarter last year that was hampered by a large tax-related charge, while the company also unveiled a $1.5 billion buyback program. The company forecast downbeat 2012 earnings of $5.70 to $5.90 a share, on revenue of $11.7 billion to $12 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently expected earnings of $5.98 and revenue of $12.1 billion. For the first quarter, Praxair expects a profit of $1.33 to $1.38, compared with market predictions of $1.41. It said it anticipates negative currency impacts year-over-year of about 7 cents. Praxair, the largest industrial gas company in North America and South America, has maintained better earnings on recent strength in Asia and South America, though North America remains its biggest market, making up about half its sales. For the latest period, Praxair reported a profit of $420 million, or $1.38 a share, up from $133 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding a Spanish tax settlement-related charge of 80 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter and other special items, income rose to $1.36 from $1.25. In October, the company forecast earnings of $1.33 to $1.38 a share. Revenue rose 6.6% to $2.8 billion, just below expectations of $2.84 billion. Gross margin narrowed to 42.8% from 43.1%. Sales in North America rose 7% to $1.4 billion on strong sales growth to manufacturing, energy, chemicals and metals markets, and operating profit grew 17%. South America sales improved 8%, as Asia sales rose 6%. Sales in Europe were up 12% on the acquisition of increased ownership of Yara Praxair in Scandinavia. Shares closed Tuesday at $109.10 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 7.3% over the past three months. -By Ben Fox Rubin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3108;

Stock News for Air Products (APD)
11/30/201616:05:00Air Products Publishes New GRI Sustainability Report
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11/22/201613:30:00Air Products' CEO to Address Citi 2016 Basic Materials Conference...
11/21/201613:27:59Annual Report (10-k)
11/16/201613:01:00Air Products Declares Quarterly Dividend
11/15/201611:00:00Air Products Selected for Technology Upgrade at Shell Hydrogen...
11/10/201615:07:17Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
11/10/201615:07:17Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
11/10/201610:38:00Air Products Continues to Deliver World-Class Hydrogen Supply...
11/01/201612:09:00Air Products Appoints Dr. Samir J. Serhan Executive Vice President
10/31/201614:38:00Air Products to Highlight First Smart Burner for the Glass Industry...
10/27/201609:34:00Air Products & Chemicals Revenue and Profit Rise
10/27/201608:24:03Current Report Filing (8-k)
10/27/201606:00:00Air Products Reports Strong Fiscal 2016 Fourth Quarter and Full-Year...
10/25/201613:13:00Air Products Invests in Korea to Support Growing Market Demand
10/18/201614:00:00Air Products Wins Chemours Contract for Multiple Gases Supply
10/17/201610:53:23Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
10/17/201610:52:58Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
10/13/201609:45:00Air Products and NICE Sign MOU to Work Jointly on Hydrogen Fueling...
10/12/201614:30:00Air Products Recognized for Leadership by Dow Jones Sustainability...

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