6309 Monarch Park Place, Suite 203
Niwot, CO 80503, USA
Phone (303) 443-5060
Toll free (888) 742-5060
These results exclude restructuring and divestiture charges and exclude a charge for the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle related to the accounting for goodwill.
Including the charges related to the restructuring, divestitures and change in accounting principle, the reported net earnings per diluted share for the quarter ended June 30, 2002 were $0.20 versus a net loss of $0.67 for the comparable prior year quarter.
'We continue to deliver strong earnings performance in the face of difficult market conditions,' commented Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter McCausland. 'EPS increased 15%, excluding certain charges. Improved gross margins reflecting an expanded gas and rent sales mix, as well as effective expense management and favorable interest rates, primarily contributed to this performance. After-tax cash flow also remained strong, but the timing of payments for certain accrued expenses resulted in an increase in net working capital, which negatively impacted free cash flow.'
McCausland continued, 'The first quarter performance was bolstered by the business acquired from Air Products, which surpassed our earnings projections and was slightly accretive this quarter because of the low interest rate environment. Integration of the acquired assets is going well and we are on track to realize projected synergies.'
While fiscal first quarter sales of $458 million increased 10%, total same-store sales declined 2% compared to the same quarter a year ago, reflecting continued weakness in manufacturing and other industrial customer segments. Same-store sales in the Distribution segment were down 2%, reflecting an increase of 1% for gases and rent and a 5% decline in hardgoods. Same-store sales for the Gas Operations segment decreased 3%. Year-to-date capital spending was $14 million versus $17 million last year.
'Although operating conditions have been difficult, we have not sacrificed long-term value for short-term gains and we continue to invest in our infrastructure initiatives as planned,' added McCausland. 'While we wait for sustained signs of an economic recovery, we remain focused on growing market share, cost management and driving efficiency through our integrated distribution system. We believe that leveraging the capabilities of our infrastructure will not only improve our cost position in the near term, but position us for greater growth when the economy strengthens.'
Free cash flow is defined as after-tax cash flow (net earnings, excluding certain gains and charges, plus depreciation, amortization and deferred income taxes), minus capital spending, plus/minus the change in working capital, excluding the impact of the accounts receivable securitization and certain gains and charges.