US Air Products expects global growth to slow in 2011

21 October 2010 17:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Air Products expects global manufacturing growth to slow in its fiscal 2011 as inventory restocking ends and stimulus programmes expire, executives with the US-based industrial gases producer said on Thursday.

Speaking on an earnings conference call, chief financial officer Paul Huck noted that manufacturing would likely continue as the leading sector in the global economic recovery.

However, the recovery would likely be gradual, despite growth in 2010 that was somewhat stronger than expected because of sales in Asia, Huck said.

“Volume growth will be the key factor driving earnings improvement,” Huck said.

The company’s 2011 fiscal year began on 1 October.

Air Products said it expected Asia to remain its strongest region, with manufacturing growth there increasing by 6-7% in fiscal 2011.

Elsewhere, the US would likely grow by 3-4% and Europe by 1-2%. As a whole, global manufacturing growth would increase by an average of 3-4%, the company said.

Based on those trends, the company said its initial 2011 fiscal year earnings guidance was for an increase of 10-14% and earnings per share of $5.50-5.70.

Fiscal first-quarter 2011 guidance was for earnings per share of $1.31-1.35.

Earlier on Thursday, Air Products posted a fiscal 2010 fourth-quarter net profit of $294m , (€212m) up 19.5% year over year amid higher sales.

Following the release, the company's stock traded higher by $1.06, or 1.3%, to $84.16/share in mid-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Ben DuBose
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