Based on current financial data and attributable to a number of other factors, Air Products has announced a revision of its previous fourth quarter 2008 outlook.
The company revealed that it anticipates posting fiscal 2008 fourth quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations in the range of $1.24 to $1.26.
This is slightly toned down from its previous earnings expectations for the quarter, which was in the range of $1.37 to $1.42.
The revised outlook is primarily attributable to factors such as the effects of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, a disruptive fire at the company’s Ulsan, Korea facility, a slowing manufacturing environment, and the impact of the continually strengthening Dollar.
A fire sustained at the company’s Ulsan, Korea nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) production facility required the plant to be shut down and is expected to impact upon fourth quarter EPS by $0.05. Air Products has been able to continue supplying NF3 to its customers and the company anticipates bringing the Ulsan plant back online in January 2009.
Hurricanes Gustav and Ike reduced short-term demand from US Gulf Coast customers and drove temporary increases in operational costs, while Air Products has just recently begun repairs and commenced operations again at its La Porte and Baytown facilities in Texas.
Commenting on the revised outlook, Chairman, President and CEO John McGlade explained, “Despite the fire, the hurricanes and a challenging economic environment, our financial position remains strong. With our capital spending increasing, a strong backlog of projects, and growing needs for industrial gases in the energy markets, we are very confident in our future growth.”
“We remain committed to achieving double-digit earnings growth while continuing to improve our margins and returns.”
The slowdown in both semiconductor foundry and liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing has lowered demand for electronic equipment and materials and is expected to impact fourth quarter EPS by $0.03.
Added to this, further weakening of the manufacturing environment in Europe has slowed sales and is expected to reduce fourth quarter EPS by $0.03.