UPDATE 1-Weak packaged gas demand weighs on Praxair's outlook
July 24 (Reuters) - Industrial gas supplier Praxair Inc forecast slightly lower-than-expected profit for the current quarter and cut the upper end of its full-year forecast as packaged gas demand remains weak due to lower construction and capital spending.
Praxair expects a profit of $1.48 to $1.53 per share in the third quarter. Analysts on average are expecting $1.54, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It trimmed the upper end of its full-year earnings forecast by 5 cents and now sees a profit of $5.90 to $6.00 per share.
Praxair sells packaged gases like carbon dioxide, atmospheric gases, hydrogen, helium and acetylene in metal cylinders to customers requiring small volumes.
The company's results for the last three quarters were dragged down by weakness in its packaged gas business.
Praxair also sells oxygen and argon to healthcare, petroleum refining, chemicals and aerospace industries.
The company expects weak volumes for packaged gases to be offset by improved demand from the energy, chemicals and metals industries across the Americas and Asia.
During the second quarter, acquisitions of NuCO2 Inc and some packaged gas distributors helped increase the company's sales in America. It has also been actively expanding its operations in emerging markets like India and China.
Praxair, which competes with Air Products and Chemicals Inc , said revenue rose 7.1 percent to $3.01 billion during the quarter.
Second-quarter profit rose 3.7 percent to $445 million, or $1.49 per share, helped by higher sales in America and Asia.
The results were in line with analysts' average estimates.
Shares of the Connecticut-based company were up 1 pct to $118.69 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
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