Praxair has reported second-quarter net income of $467m and diluted earnings per share of $1.58, 5% and 6% above the prior-year quarter, respectively.
Sales in the second quarter were $3,113m, 3% above the prior-year quarter, and up 5% excluding foreign currency. Organic sales grew 4% driven by new project start-ups, primarily in North America and Asia, and price across all operating segments. By end-market, sales growth was strongest for metals, energy and food & beverage customers. Acquisitions contributed 1% growth in the quarter.
Operating profit in the second quarter was $697m, 5% above the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation impacts, operating profit rose 7% primarily driven by higher pricing and productivity gains. Operating profit as a percentage of sales was a strong 22.4% and EBITDA margin grew to 32.1%.
Second-quarter cash flow from operations was $847m and funded capital expenditures of $384m, primarily for new production plants under long-term contracts with customers. Acquisition expenditures in the quarter were $46m, primarily related to US packaged gas businesses. The company paid dividends of $190m and repurchased $140m of stock, net of issuances. The after-tax return on capital and return on equity for the quarter were 12.6% and 28.3%, respectively.
Commenting on the financial results and business outlook, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel said, “Praxair delivered another solid quarter with operating profit growth of 7%, outpacing sales growth of 5%, excluding currency headwinds, despite moderating growth in emerging markets. We achieved superior operating cash flow as a percentage of sales of 27% as a result of our consistent focus on high-quality growth and strong return on capital.”
“Sales growth was driven by new projects in North America and Asia, as well as disciplined price execution across all of our operating segments. We grew the base business modestly in North America, Europe and Asia, but this growth was mitigated by weaker South American volumes as a result of negative industrial production in Brazil.”
“As we look to the remainder of the year, we don’t anticipate significant economic improvement in the second half. However, Praxair’s relentless focus on operational excellence, project execution and financial discipline will continue to deliver increasing cash flow and earnings per share for our shareholders.”
For the third quarter of 2014, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.58 to $1.65.
For the full year of 2014, Praxair expects sales in the range of $12.4bn to $12.7bn. The company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $6.30 to $6.45, 6% to 9% above the prior year. This year-over-year growth rate was reduced by approximately 2% negative foreign currency translation impact. Full-year capital expenditures are expected to be about $1.8bn, and the effective tax rate is forecasted to remain at about 28%.
Following is additional detail on second-quarter 2014 results by segment.
In North America, second-quarter sales were $1,628m, 5% above the prior-year quarter and up 7% excluding negative currency translation impacts. Organic sales growth was 5% driven primarily by higher pricing and increased sales to the energy end-market as on-site volumes increased from new project start-ups for hydrogen supply to refinery customers. Acquisitions contributed 1% growth. Operating profit of $398m grew 4% from the prior year due to higher pricing, higher volumes and ongoing productivity initiatives.
In Europe, second-quarter sales were $408m, up 7% versus the second quarter of 2013. Acquisitions, primarily Dominion Technology Gases, contributed 3% growth. Organic sales growth of 1% came from higher pricing. Operating profit of $78m increased 13% versus the prior-year quarter, and was driven by positive currency translation, acquisitions and higher price.
In South America, second-quarter sales were $509m. Sales grew 3% from the prior-year quarter, excluding an 8% negative currency impact, primarily due to higher overall pricing. Operating profit was $113m, up 1% excluding currency effects, due to higher pricing partially offset by lower volumes in Brazil and cost inflation.
Sales in Asia were $394m in the quarter, up 4% from the prior year driven by higher pricing and volume growth in India, China, Korea and Thailand. Sales growth came primarily from metals, energy and electronics customers. Operating profit was $76m, 25% above the prior-year quarter due primarily to higher volumes, price and productivity initiatives.
Praxair Surface Technologies had second-quarter sales of $174m, 5% above the prior year. Organic sales increased 4% primarily from higher price. Operating profit was $32 million, as compared to $31m in the prior year, due primarily to higher price.