Airgas reports ‘second best’ fiscal quarter


North American based distributor, Airgas, Inc. reported net earnings of $64.8m, or $0.47 per diluted share, for quarter one of 2010.
In addition, for the first quarter ended 30th June, sales reached $1.06bn, which reflected a sequential increase of 6% on the previous year. In particular, hardgood sales rose by 8%, with gas and rent up by 5%.
Company Chairman and CEO, Peter McCausland, commented, $quot;We delivered the second best earnings quarter in company history, which is particularly encouraging given that, at this early stage of the economic recovery, revenues have not yet recovered to pre-recession levels. Our strategy through the downturn was to position Airgas to emerge from the recession as an even stronger company, and our results demonstrate our success, as we are running very close to record earnings and margins.”
McCausland continued, $quot;Conditions continued to improve in most of our customer segments and geographies this quarter, led by manufacturing, and with the greatest strength in our Great Lakes region. The strengthening in our business and our robust results give us the confidence to raise our fiscal 2011 guidance. Further, the increasing momentum we are seeing reinforces our confidence in our calendar 2012 earnings goal of at least $4.20 per share, and with continued modest improvement in the economy, we could very well outperform that objective.$quot;
The adjusted operating margin for the quarter also improved on a year-on-year basis by 12.3%. Airgas attributed this rise to corporate attention on sales growth and cost discipline. Similarly adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.83, an increase of 26% from $0.66 which was achieved in the same quarter of the prior year.

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