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UPDATE: Airgas Posts In-Line Q3 Earnings, Lowers Forecast

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Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported in-line earnings for the fiscal third quarter and lowered its forecast for the current quarter.

For the fourth quarter, Airgas now projects earnings of $1.25 to $1.30 per share, versus its earlier forecast of $1.32 to $1.37 per share. The company now projects organic sales to rise 6% to 7%.

The Radnor, Pennsylvania-based company reported a quarterly profit of $93.2 million, or $1.23 per share, compared to $82.76 million, or $1.10 per share, in the year-ago period. Airgas in October had expected earnings of $1.20 to $1.25 per share.

Its net sales climbed 7.2% to $1.33 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $.123 per share on revenue of $1.31 billion.

Its operating margin shrank by 30 basis points to 12.2% in the quarter.

Hardgoods sales gained 8.3%, while gas and rent revenue surged 6.5% in the quarter.

“While our performance met expectations in the third quarter, the rapid and dramatic drop in oil prices, coupled with the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar, has created uncertainty in the market. In the near-term, we expect some level of capital deferment in certain sub-segments of our customer base and the positive impact of low oil prices on manufacturing may be muted by the impact of the strong dollar on manufacturers that export,” said Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer Michael L. Molinini. “Accordingly, we have modestly reduced our sales growth rate assumptions, but still expect strong year-over-year organic sales growth of 6% to 7% in the fourth quarter.”

Airgas shares gained 1.37% to close at $114.18 yesterday.

 

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