(Adds details from conference call, analyst comment,
background, share movement)
By Kanika Sikka and Anannya Pramanick
July 23 Air Products and Chemicals' new
chief executive said he would aim to improve the operational
performance of the company's businesses and generate cash before
deciding on the sale of any unit.
The industrial gas supplier's shares rose 4 percent to a
life-high of $135.97.
Seifi Ghasemi, who successfully executed a number of deals
as CEO of Rockwood Holdings Inc, was appointed to the
top position at Air Products last month and analysts expect him
to divest some of the company's businesses.
"Nothing is on sale right now. We are focused on improving
performance of all of our businesses", Ghasemi said on a
conference call on Wednesday.
The CEO's messages were "well-received by investors who were
looking for changes in the company and ways to improve margins,"
SunTrust Robinson analyst James Sheehan said.
Air Products reported a 9 percent rise in third-quarter
profit to $314 million, or $1.46 per share.
The company, however, tightened its continuing operations
profit forecast range for 2014. Air Products expects profit of
$5.72 to $5.77 per share, compared with $5.70 to $5.85 it
Lower industrial activity in Latin America and moderating
growth in emerging markets is expected to weigh on the company's
profit this year, Sheehan said.
Bigger rival Praxair Inc, also cut the upper end of
its full-year profit forecast. The company's second-quarter
growth was hurt by weak sales volume in South America, mainly
due to negative industrial production in Brazil.
Industrial output in Brazil, once one of the most
dynamic of emerging economies, has slumped over the last three
months and is on track to shrink more than 1 percent this year.
Praxair earned 16 percent of its total quarterly revenue
from Latin American countries.
Air Products, which has a relatively lower exposure to the
region, is depending on improvement of economic activity in the
Air Products shares were trading up 3 percent at $134.56 on
Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, while that of Praxair
were down less than a percent.
(Additional reporting by Sneha Banerjee, Writing by Sayantani
Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sriraj