* Cuts full-year profit forecast to $4.40-$4.46 per share
* Adjusted 3rd-qtr profit $1.04 per share vs est $1.07
* Revenue rises 5 pct to $1.21 bln
Jan 24 Industrial gas supplier Airgas Inc
reported third-quarter earnings below analysts'
estimates and cut its full-year profit forecast for the second
time, due mainly to a shortage in the supply of helium.
The company said full-year profit would be about 7 cents per
share lower than a year earlier due to a shortage in the supply
of lighter-than-air gas helium, which is used in welding metal
parts and in hospitals for surgeries.
Helium sales account for about 3 percent of the company's
Airgas now expects full-year profit to be between $4.40 per
share and $4.46 per share, down from the $4.42 to $4.57 per
share range it forecast in October.
The company supplies cylinders of helium, argon, and other
gases used in construction and healthcare. It also rents out gas
monitoring and related safety equipment to oil and gas
Larger rival Air Products, the world's largest supplier of
hydrogen, raised its full-year earnings forecast range on
Wednesday citing its project backlog.
Airgas' third-quarter profit rose to $82.9 million, or $1.05
per share, from $72.6 million, or 93 cents per share, a year
Revenue rose 5 percent to $1.21 billion.
Revenue in gas and rental business, which sells gases such
as nitrogen and oxygen and rents out storage tanks and welding
equipment for joining metal parts, rose 6 percent.
Excluding one-time restructuring charges, the company
reported earnings of $1.04 per share. Analysts' were expecting a
profit of $1.07 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"Moderating activity levels in our industrial customer base
throughout the quarter were further exacerbated in late December
by uncertainty around the fiscal cliff and by the timing of the
holidays during the work week," Airgas Executive Chairman Peter
McCausland said in a statement.
Shares of the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based company closed at
$92.87 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.