Airgas fiscal Q1 net earnings up 21% despite helium supply squeeze

25 July 2012 13:36  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Airgas’ fiscal 2013 first-quarter net income rose 21% year on year to $90.8m (€75.4m), despite helium supply constraints and a weakening in the economic recovery, the US-based industrial gases firm said on Wednesday.

Airgas’ sales for the three months ended 30 June rose 8% to $1.26bn. Sequentially, sales were up 1% from the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter.

"Our earnings were strong, notwithstanding the significant incremental challenges we faced in our helium supply chain during the quarter," said CEO Peter McCausland.

Airgas' first-quarter helium sales volumes fell because of the inability of suppliers to meet their helium supply commitments. The company expects the global helium supply chain to improve going forward, it said. 

Furthermore, the slow and steady growth Airgas had been seeing across its customer base through May moderated in June.

Airgas now believes that the “economic recovery has indeed hit a soft patch,” McCausland said.

Looking ahead, Airgas expects that most of its customer segments will post modest growth this year, he said.

“Though we are appropriately cautious about near-term conditions, we remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for the US manufacturing and energy industries,” he said.

“Should business conditions deteriorate, however, we will have to revisit our outlook," McCausland said.

($1 = €0.83)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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