Airgas Inc. is another of the big industrial gas companies to have posted strong growth in sales, operating income and earnings, recording a second-quarter net earnings increase of 28% to $51m or 60 cents per diluted share.

The current quarter includes a one-time non-cash charge of $0.03 per share related to the previously announced conversion of National Welders Supply Company from a joint venture to a wholly-owned subsidiary, and $0.04 per diluted share of integration expense primarily associated with the acquisition of Linde’s US packaged gas business.

These charges reduced the year-over-year quarterly net earnings growth by $5m or 12%.

Second-quarter sales grew 27% over the previous year, to reach $1bn and acquisitions are considered to have contributed 21% to this growth with a full quarter of the Linde packaged gas acquisition accounting for approximately half of this increase.

Total same-store sales increased 6%, with hardgoods up 7% and gas and rent up 5% from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Peter McCausland, Airgas chairman and CEO, commented, “This was another excellent quarter for Airgas with solid internal growth, plus the Linde and other acquisitions contributing to our top line. Our integration of the Linde packaged gas business is progressing well and on schedule. Non-residential construction and energy markets have sustained their strong performance, as have our strategic products. Our strong cash flow is also encouraging.”

Speaking to Reuters, McCausland told of the company’s plans to grow further and announce more acquisitions in the near future as he said, “We are looking at acquisitions and we are working on a number of them. We expect to make a number of announcements really soon.”

Looking ahead to the third-quarter, the company expects to earn 63-65 cents per diluted share, including 1 cent per share of integration expense from the Linde packaged gas acquisition. The company increased its full-year guidance to $2.55-$2.60 per diluted share, including integration expenses from the Linde packaged gas acquisition.