* Q2 adj EPS $1.03 vs est $1.02
* Q2 rev up 12 pct at $1.19 bln, beats
* Forecasts Q3 adj EPS of $0.95-$0.98
* Ups FY adj EPS view to $3.97-$4.07
* Shares up 1.5 pct
By Krishna N Das
Oct 27 Airgas Inc beat Wall Street
estimates with a 17 percent rise in quarterly profit, as
manufacturing and energy customers kept demand high, prompting
the industrial gas supplier to raise its full-year adjusted
Manufacturing, medical, petrochemical and utilities sectors
are the strongest customer bases for Airgas, which supplies
canisters of oxygen, argon and other gases used in
construction, healthcare and many other industries.
Airgas shares were up 1.5 percent at $70.34 at midday on
Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
"On the strength of our second quarter results and outlook
for sustained volumes in the coming quarter, we have raised our
earnings guidance for fiscal 2012," Airgas Chief Executive
Peter McCausland, who founded the company in 1982, said on a
"October sales are trending well, consistent with the
favorable daily sales run rates we saw in September."
He said Airgas continues to see strength in the
manufacturing-intensive regions of the United States and in its
petrochemical and energy customers.
Rival Praxair Inc earlier this week reported a
slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit, while Air
Products' earnings came in line with Wall Street's
McCausland said Airgas will be initiating "a pricing
action" in its gas and hardgoods segments to offset costs. The
hardgoods business comprises welding equipment, safety
products, construction supplies, and maintenance, repair and
"Later in the (second) quarter, we found ourselves slightly
behind the curve on rising hardgoods product costs ... In
addition, we had to overcome supply-chain disruptions in a few
gases, including helium, acetylene, and argon," he said.
Airgas, which has made about 400 acquisitions so far, said
its appetite for acquisitions remains strong and is targeting
$150 million in acquired annual sales this fiscal year.
Acquisitions contributed sales growth of 2 percent in the
second quarter, the company said.
"While our acquisition pipeline is far more active than it
was last year, some potential sellers are delaying decisions in
the wake of market volatility," McCausland said.
Airgas' profit for the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30
rose to $77.7 million, or $1.01 per share, from $66.6 million,
or 78 cents per share in the year-ago period.
Excluding items, it earned $1.03 per share. Analysts on
average expected earnings of $1.02 per share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. This is the seventh quarter in a row
that profit has beaten analysts' expectations.
Revenue rose 12 percent to $1.19 billion, ahead of
expectations of $1.17 billion. Total same-store sales grew 10
percent in the quarter.
Pennsylvania-based Airgas forecast full-year adjusted
per-share earnings of $3.97 to $4.07, compared with $3.90 to
$4.05 earlier. Wall Street projection is for a profit of
It projected third-quarter adjusted earnings of 95 cents
per share to 98 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 97
cents per share.
Airgas stock has gained about 10 percent in value this
year, outpacing the 2 percent rise in the S&P Industrial Gases
Sub-Industry index .