Praxair report record first-quarter net income of $195 million, versus $164 million earned in the first quarter of 2004.

Diluted earnings per share grew 20% to 59 cents, compared with 49 cents in last year’s quarter.

Sales in the quarter were $1,827 million, 19% above $1,531 million in the 2004 period. Operating profit grew 19% to $309 million from $260 million in 2004. Sales and operating profit were sharply higher in every geographic region, with the highest sales growth coming from global energy, metals and industrial manufacturing markets.

Cash flow from operations in the quarter was $289 million, and capital expenditures were $165 million. The company made $31 million of net common stock repurchases, and the after-tax return-on-capital* ratio was 12.7% at the end of the quarter.

Commenting on the results, Dennis H. Reilley, chairman and chief executive officer said, \\$quot;Sales were up significantly from last year and remained strong throughout the quarter despite a significant impact from refinery turnarounds. Most importantly, the level of new business activity and project awards is robust.\\$quot;

Praxair's results by region:
SalesOperating Profit
RegionsQ1 2005 Q1 2004 % Increase Q1 2005 Q1 2004 % Increase
North America $1,115$96016%$166$14911%
South America$245$20023%$43$3234%
Praxair Surface Technologies $118$1116%$11$1010%

For the full year of 2005, Praxair expects sales growth of 12% to 15%, and operating profit growth of 13% to 17%, versus 2004. Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $2.40 to $2.48. The average effective tax rate is expected to be about 26%. Full-year capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $750 million to $800 million.

Commenting on the business outlook, Mr. Reilley said, \\$quot;We expect sales growth to continue throughout the year in most of our major end markets, and in all geographic regions. Our growing hydrogen and energy business, the contribution of our acquired business in Germany, and a strong pipeline of new contracts and projects under construction will add to earnings and cash-flow growth in 2006 and beyond.\\$quot;