Praxair, Inc. has reported first quarter net income and diluted earnings per share of $398m and $1.29, respectively 17% and 18% above the prior year quarter.

Sales in the first quarter were $2,702 million, 11% above the previous year quarter, and 3% sequentially from the prior quarter. Praxair attributed the incline to 'broad-based volume growth'. The appreciation was widespread across all regions, with strong growth from manufacturing, metals, chemicals and electronics markets.

Operating profit also rose to $591 million, up 17% from the prior year quarter. Similarly, Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $844 million grew by 14% from the prior-year period.

First quarter operating profit cash flow was also noteworthy at $359m, while capital spending was $334m. Commenting on the report, Steve Angel, Chairman and CEO for the firm, summarised, “Praxair kicked off the year with solid volume growth. The emerging markets, primarily South America and Asia, grew by double-digits, while our business in North America benefitted from steady economic recovery in the U.S. We continue to successfully execute pricing and productivity initiatives as reflected in the first-quarter operating margin of 22%.”

Angel added, “New project opportunities remain robust and during the quarter we signed new on-site supply agreements in nearly all of our major markets representing future capital investment of over $500 million. Revenues from these projects will be realised over the next several years as they come on stream.”

Looking ahead
With regards to the second quarter of 2011, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.33 to $1.38.

For the full fiscal year 2011, Praxair expects sales in the region of $11bn. The company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $5.35 to $5.45. Full-year capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion, and the effective tax rate is forecasted to remain at about 28%.