Praxair reported third-quarter net income of $108 million, and diluted earnings per share of 33 cents.

Net income included an income tax charge of $92 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, largely related to its plan to repatriate $1.1 billion pursuant to the Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Excluding this charge, net income grew to $200 million, from $177 million earned in the third quarter of 2004. Diluted earnings per share, excluding the income tax charge, grew 15 per cent to 61 cents, compared to 53 cents in last year’s quarter.

Sales in the quarter rose 13 per cent to $1,890 million, compared to $1,674 million in the 2004 period. Operating profit grew by 13 per cent to $317 million versus $280 million in last year’s quarter. The third-quarter results were impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which reduced sales by about $22 million, and operating profit by about $15 million, or 3 cents of diluted earnings per share.

Dennis H. Reilley, chairman and chief executive officer, commented: “Our strong results in the third quarter once again validate Praxair’s ability to perform well in a challenging environment. Our third-quarter results were negatively impacted by high energy prices and various plant outages experienced by us and our customers due to the two hurricanes which struck the Gulf Coast. Despite all of this, we were able to maintain our growth momentum and provide reliable supply to our customers under difficult and unusual circumstances.”

For the fourth quarter of 2005, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share in the range of 61 cents to 65 cents, a double-digit increase from the prior year.

For the full year of 2005, Praxair expects sales and operating profit growth of 15 per cent to 16 per cent, versus 2004.

Commenting on the business outlook, Reilley said: “In the near term, we expect high energy prices and the slow repair of infrastructure on the Gulf Coast to continue to present challenges to the chemical and refining industries. However, we believe that the strength of activity in our other end markets will continue. Our growing backlog of projects to come on-stream over the next several years, combined with productivity and investment discipline, should continue to drive strong cash flow and earnings growth.”

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