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Sales growth primarily was a result of higher overall volumes in all geographic regions and foreign currency appreciation. Volume growth was broad-based across most end-markets. Chemicals, metals and electronics showed the strongest pick-up, while growth in manufacturing continues to lag.
In North America, first-quarter sales were $1.2 billion, up 6 percent. By end-market, the strongest sales growth was to chemicals, metals, and electronics markets.
In Europe, first-quarter sales were $338 million compared to $303 million in the prior year. Excluding currency effects, sales grew 7 percent primarily from higher volumes in Spain and Germany.
In South America, first-quarter sales were $458 million compared to $353 million in the prior-year period. Excluding positive currency effects, sales grew 9 percent due primarily to higher volumes to metals and manufacturing customers, and higher overall pricing.
Sales in Asia grew 43 percent from the prior-year quarter to $258 million. Excluding currency and cost pass-through effects, underlying sales grew 29 percent from sharply higher volumes. Sales growth was primarily driven by electronics, higher on-site and merchant volumes across the region and new plant start-ups.
Praxair Surface Technologies had first-quarter sales of $136 million compared to $123 million in the prior-year quarter. Sales growth was attributable primarily to an acquisition in 2009, partially offset by lower volumes of industrial gas turbine coatings.