Airgas Q4 profit falls 29% to $40m on higher costs, lower sales

06 May 2010 17:08  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Airgas reported fiscal 2010 fourth-quarter net earnings of $40m (€31m), down 29% from $56m in the year-earlier period as overall costs and expenses rose while sales fell 1.2%, the US industrial gases firm said on Thursday.

The latest quarterly results included $23.4m in legal expenses related to Air Products' hostile $5.1bn takeover bid for Airgas. Airgas has repeatedly rejected that bid.

Sales for the three months ended 31 March were $980m, compared with $992m in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter. However, sales rose 4% sequentially from the fiscal 2010 third quarter ended 31 December, Airgas said.

Operating income for the three months was $81.9m, down from $114.5m in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter.

“The economic recovery appears to be building momentum, as daily sales rates improved sequentially for the second consecutive quarter, and March was our first positive same-store sales month since November 2008,” said Airgas chief executive Peter McCausland.

For the full 12 months of fiscal 2010 ended 31 March, Airgas reported net earnings of $196m, down almost 25% from fiscal 2009 as sales declined 11% to $3.9bn.

Airgas acquired six businesses in fiscal 2010, with aggregate annual revenue of more than $47m, it noted.

Airgas provided no further update on Air Products' bid.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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