The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: January 27, 2009

Praxair 4Q Sales Drop 4.8%

Praxair, Inc., Danbury, CT, reported profit of $200 million for the fourth quarter 2008, down 36.7% over fourth quarter 2007. Sales declined 4.8% to $2.4 billion.
For the full year of 2008, profit was $1.2 billion, a 2.9% improvement over 2007. Year-end sales were up 14.8% to $10.8 billion, primarily from new business, new plant start-ups and higher pricing.
Commenting on the results and business outlook, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel said, As we anticipated, volumes dropped dramatically in November and December as our customers in the electronics, chemicals and metals industries cut production in the face of falling commodity prices and weakening demand, said CEO Steve Angel. "Our outlook for 2009 is cautious as we expect ...

Small Distributors Look For Opportunity, Survival In Tough Economy

It's not all doom and gloom in the industrial distribution world. According to the Nashville Business Journal, some companies are still finding opportunity. A new startup industrial distributor Alliance Distribution Partners LLC picked Gallatin, TN, to be its headquarters and will begin employing people immediately. (Full article can be read here.)

Though small - the company will employ 15 people initially, with expansion plans already in place to increase the workforce to 50 over the next two years - the move is a sign that there may still be opportunity for smaller distributors in certain markets. Of course, it's yet to be seen whether the company ...

Evolving Sales Force and Process in 2009

Companies of all types have made tough cuts in the past two months, and have focused on tightening the ship for 2009. Every business activity has to have a clear ROI this year and many entrenched business models are coming under fire. In a survey of the MDM audience on profitability earlier this month, distributors indicate primary investment areas this year will be in new market development, online sales capabilities, and in outside sales activities.
While some people might think hybrids are the hope of the automotive industry, I think we will see distributors increasingly build more efficient hybrid sales models. Resource-guzzling outside salespeople won't make the cut this year. Companies will get much more strategic about assembling a combination of online sales ...

Economic Forecast Places Start of Recovery in 2010

We all left the presentation by Institute for Trend Research's Alan Beaulieu feeling more than a little pessimistic. This is not surprising, given that Beaulieu's economic forecast did not see any sort of recovery until 2010. What's more, he forecast that things would get worse before they get better.
He spoke at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors annual meeting going on this week in Washington, D.C.
Beaulieu forecast the recession we are in right now - though he admits that in some areas he didn't foresee how bad it could get. The first half of his presentation was filled with a lot of doom and gloom, but the second half was more productive, focused on strategies to come out the other side of this recession ...

Airgas 3Q Sales Climb 7%

Airgas, Inc., Radnor, PA, a U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and welding, safety and related products, today sales of $1.1 billion for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, an increase of 7% from the prior year. Profit grew 10.7% to $62.9 million.

"Our strategic products, which have favorable long-term growth profiles and represent about 40% of sales, posted 4% organic growth in the quarter," CEO Peter McCausland said.  "The second half of the quarter was characterized by widespread slowing across most of our customer segments, with relative strength in the medical, analytical, and food and beverage segments.
For the first nine months, sales increased 14.7% to $3.36 billion. Profit was $204.6 million, an ...