Air Products has announced net income has more than doubled for its fiscal 2007 fourth-quarter, rising from $128m in the same period of 2006 to $293m or $1.31 per share.

For fiscal 2007, sales of $10.038m were up 15% and net income of $1.03bn rose by 43%.

The 2007 fourth-quarter results included a loss for discontinued operations related to the pending sale of the company's High Purity Process Chemicals business announced today, a gain on a polyurethane intermediates contract settlement, a tax benefit on the charitable donation and gain on sale of an investment, a charge for a supplemental pension plan, a charge for a global cost reduction plan, and a tax benefit from audit settlements and adjustments.

Record fourth quarter revenues of $2,603 million were up 12 percent from the prior year on higher pricing and volumes in the Merchant Gases segment, and higher volumes in the Tonnage Gases and Electronics and Performance Materials segments. Operating income of $371 million was up 22 percent.

For fiscal 2007, sales of $10,038 million were up 15 percent and income of $976 million was up 23 percent over the prior year due to higher volumes broadly across the Merchant Gases, Tonnage Gases, Electronics and Performance Materials, and Energy and Equipment segments.

John McGlade, president and CEO, said, “We had strong operating performance in our fiscal 2007 fourth quarter, closing out our fourth consecutive year of double-digit sales and earnings growth. Most importantly, we significantly improved our return on capital, reaching our goal of 12.5 percent ORONA and hitting the milestone of $10 billion in sales and $1 billion in net income.”

“Our employees' focus on becoming a higher growth, higher return company delivered these outstanding results,” McGlade added.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2008 ending 31st December 2007, earnings per share (EPS) is expected to be between $1.08 and $1.13. The company anticipates fiscal year 2008 EPS in the range of $4.80 to $5.00 per share, representing year-over-year earnings growth on a continuing operations basis of 10-14%.

Looking ahead, McGlade said, “We are targeting our fifth consecutive year of double-digit earnings growth in fiscal 2008 based on a strong project workload around the world and continued growth in global manufacturing. We are positioned in the right markets and geographies to deliver above-average growth into the future.”

“We are also maintaining our commitment to improve returns. This year, we will work to expand our margins and continue to reduce costs across all of our businesses, with the goal of driving a 100 basis point margin improvement in fiscal 2008 and a 300 basis point increase over the next three years,” McGlade concluded.

Founded in 1940, Air Products has grown to establish leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services and LNG, among others.