Air Products Shares Ease on Soft Guidance

Shares of Air Products (NYSE:APD) edged lower on Friday after the company revealed a tepid outlook for the current period while posting quarterly results that hit expectations.

The Allentown, Pa.-based provider of atmospheric and specialty gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and helium posted net income of $326.5 million, or $1.50 a share, compared with $253.2 million, or $1.19 a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding special items, the company earned a record $1.46 a share, matching average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue for the three-months ended June 30 was $2.6 billion, up from $2.25 billion a year ago, beating the Streets view of $2.52 billion. Sales were lifted on higher volumes primarily in the electronics and performance materials, and tonnage segments.

We continued to see strong volume growth across a number of our businesses, Air Products CEO John McGlade said in a statement, particularly in the Asia merchant business and more broadly in the energy and electronics markets, he said.

The strong performance helped offset softer sales in the U.S. and Europe merchant business and a significant number of planned maintenance outage in the tonnage unit. Sales in its equipment and energy department were down 31% to $80 million on weaker ASU demand.

We remain very disappointed by the continued higher operating and maintenance costs in our Merchant segment and are taking the necessary steps to improve performance, McGlade said.

Looking ahead, the company predicts strong revenue growth in its tonnage, and electronics and performance materials segments. It expects fourth-quarter earnings in the range of $1.48 to $1.53 a share, in line with analysts $1.52 a share view.