Air Products lowers Q4 earnings estimates

23 September 2008 12:14  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Air Products has lowered its earnings expectations for its fiscal fourth quarter due to a fire in South Korea, hurricanes on the US Gulf coast and a challenging economic environment, the company said on Tuesday.

Earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations for the period ending 30 September were expected in a range of $1.24-1.26, down from its previous estimates of $1.37-1.42, the US industrial gases producer said in a statement.

It said earnings had been affected by a number of factors, including a fire sustained at the company's Ulsan, South Korea, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) production facility which required the plant to be shut down.

The restart of the plant was expected in January 2009.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike reduced short-term demand from US Gulf Coast customers and drove temporary increases in operational costs, Air Products said.

It added that earnings had also been negatively impacted by the continued strengthening of the dollar against the euro and sterling, as well as a slowdown in semiconductor foundry and liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing which had lowered demand for electronic equipment and materials.

In Europe, further weakening of the manufacturing environment has slowed sales, the company added.

"Despite the fire, the hurricanes and a challenging economic environment, our financial position remains strong,” said chairman, president and CEO John McGlade.

“With our capital spending increasing, a strong backlog of projects and growing needs for industrial gases in the energy markets, we are very confident in our future growth,” he added.

He said the company remained committed to double-digit earnings growth while continuing to improve margins and returns.

Air Products will publish its fourth-quarter results on 22 October.

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214



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