Air Products has reported a 17 per cent increase in profits and record revenues for its third quarter.

The company, which makes industrial gases and performance chemicals, reported a net income of $191 million, 82 cents per share for its fiscal third quarter which ended on June 30.

The company had record revenues of $2,078 million, up 10 per cent over the previous year due to strong performance across the gases, chemicals and equipment segments. Operating income was up 12 per cent to $263 million, primarily driven by continued improvement in chemicals and equipment.

Sales of gases were up 11 per cent to $1,479 million, mostly because of a volume increase of seven per cent.

John Jones, Air Products' chairman and chief executive officer, said: \\$quot;We delivered significant improvements in sales, earnings and return on capital this quarter. Volumes in our Gases businesses were strong, and the turnaround in our Chemicals segment continued as we successfully managed volume, price and cost. In addition, we have essentially completed our $500 million share buyback program, reflecting our commitment to improve shareholder returns.\\$quot;

Chemicals segment sales were up seven per cent to $482 million, mostly due to increased pricing to recover higher raw material costs. Operating income was up 64 per cent to $49 million due to improved prices and productivity.

Equipment segment revenues were $117 million, up 15 percent over the prior year and operating income was higher at $11 million. Higher LNG activity drove both the revenue and operating income increase. This quarter, the company secured another AP-X LNG heat exchanger order, the fifth this fiscal year, and also won a contract to supply a new large air separation facility for the gas-to-liquids market. Equipment backlog is at a record $624 million.

Earnings this quarter also benefited from a lower tax rate.

The company is expecting full year earnings of $3.10 to $3.15 per share.

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