Praxair 1Q Profit Tops Estimates

Top U.S. industrial gas producer Praxair (NYSE:PX) revealed on Wednesday a stronger-than-expected 17% jump in first-quarter profit, fueled by higher volumes across all of its geographical regions.

The Danbury, Conn.-based company posted net income of $398 million, or $1.29 a share, compared with $314 million, or $1.01 a share, in the same quarter last year, beating the Street’s view of $1.26.

Revenue for the three-month period was $2.7 billion, up 11% from $2.43 billion a year ago, narrowly ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $2.64 billion.

Sales were fueled by broad-based volume growth and higher demand across all its geographic regions. Leading the gains were its manufacturing, metals, chemicals and electronics markets.

“Praxair kicked off the year with solid volume growth,” Steve Angel, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The emerging markets, primarily South America and Asia, grew at double-digits, while our business in North America benefited from steady economic recovery in the U.S.”

Asia and South America led the geographic growth in sales, up 20% and 22%, respectively, to $310 million and $558 million. North American and Europe climbed 8% and 4%, respectively, to $1.3 billion or $343 million, all helped by higher volumes.

For the current quarter, Praxair anticipates earnings in the range of $1.33 to $1.38 a share, in line with Wall Street estimates of $1.36. For the full-year, the company is looking to book sales of $11 billion with earnings in the range of $5.35 to $5.45 a share. Analysts are predicting earnings of $5.41 a share on sales of $11.09 a share.

Praxair declared a quarterly dividend of 50 cents a share, which is unchanged from the previous quarter and payable on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 7.