Home » Airgas Reports Strong Sales and Earnings Momentum in Second Quarter
Airgas Reports Strong Sales and Earnings Momentum in Second Quarter
October 29, 2004
Airgas, Inc., Radnor, PA, the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding, safety and related products, reported net earnings for the quarter grew 19% to $22.8 million for its second quarter ended Sept. 30, 2004, compared to $19.1 million in the same period a year ago. Second quarter sales increased 30% to $600 million reflecting continued same-store sales growth, the consolidation of National Welders Supply Company (a joint venture affiliate), as well as acquisitions. Excluding National Welders, sales grew 21%. Total same-store sales were up 10% compared to the same quarter a year ago, with gas and rent up 6% and hardgoods up 16%. These results reflect continued improvement in manufacturing and other industrial market segments. 'Our momentum continued in the second quarter as EPS grew by 15%. We benefited from ongoing strength in the overall industrial markets as well as solid growth in strategic products like bulk, specialty and medical gases,' said Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter McCausland. 'In addition to robust hardgoods sales, we saw very good growth in gas and rent sales from the first quarter to the second. The outlook for organic growth in our business is very good and we continue to see acquisition opportunities.' Year to date, adjusted debt increased by $166 million as a result of the July 30 closing of the BOC acquisition. After-tax cash flow for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2004 was $106 million compared to $90 million in the comparable prior year period. Free cash flow for the comparable periods was negative $8 million versus positive $33 million. The decline in free cash is attributed to increased inventories and accounts receivable in connection with overall sales growth and the BOC acquisition, as well as capital expenditures to support the growth in strategic products like medical gas and bulk.