American, Valley National Gases Incorporated reported that net earnings for the second quarter and six months ended December 31, 2005 were $.45 and $.66 per diluted share, respectively, compared to $.36 and $.53 per diluted share for the same periods last year.

Sales for the second quarter were $56.4 million, a 30.6% increase over the same quarter last year. Sales for the first half year were $98.1 million, a 23.5% increase over the same period last year.

Valley National Gases' Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, William A. Indelicato, commented, 'Sales growth in both the quarter just completed and the first half of our fiscal year was realized as a result of both strong same store sales and the effect of our recently completed acquisitions.' Valley National Gases acquired United Propane Services, Inc. in December, Reynolds Welding Supply Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries in October and Plymouth Wayne Welding Supplies, Inc. in June of this year.

'Sales were higher in the second quarter this year'

Mr. Indelicato further commented: 'Both same store hard-goods and industrial cylinder gases increased quarter over comparable quarter by 7.9% and 11.4% respectively. Our same store propane sales were higher in the second quarter this year than last year by approximately 9.1%, due primarily to new business and to a lesser degree slightly colder weather in this year's second quarter compared to last year's second quarter.' Same store sales are sales from those locations that have been operated for the full three month and six month comparative periods.

Net sales (including sales from the acquisitions) increased $13.2 million for the quarter, compared to the prior year quarter. Hard-goods sales increased by $4.3 million, or 28.3%, while industrial gases, cylinder rent and other increased by $4.5 million or 30.6%. Propane sales increased $4.4 million, or 33.2%. Net sales for the six months ended December 31, 2005 increased $18.7 million compared to the prior year period. Hard-goods sales increased by $6.8 million or 22.6% while industrial gases, cylinder rent and other sales increased by $6.4 million or 21.6%. Propane sales increased $5.5 million, or 27.7%, reflecting $3.5 million in price escalation combined with $2.0 million increase in volume.