Net earnings for the quarter grew 12% to $24.2 million compared with $21.7 for the same quarter last year.

The quarter results include the expenses from the acquisition of the packaged gas business from The BOC Group. The amount represents $0.02 EPS.

Sale increased 26% to $656 million reflecting strong same-store sales and price gains, as well as acquisitions. Commenting in the strong growth in sales Peter McCausland, Airgas Chairman and CEO said, “We are very encouraged by our sales momentum, especially in the strength of gases, and the continued trend into April. The price increases initiated in March are gaining traction and helping to offset cost pressures related to the purchase and delivery of our products”.

For the year-end fiscal figures, net 2005 sales increased 27% to $2.4 billion and net EPS was $1.20 compared to $1.07 the previous year. The 2004 year end results also include, an after tax gain of $1.7 million and insurance-related losses of $2.8 million.

Year to date, adjusted debt increased by $145 million as a result of acquisitions, primarily the BOC acquisition. Free cash flow for the year ended March 31, 2005 was $63 million, the majority of which was attributed to the fourth quarter, compared to $115 the previous year.

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