Praxair Inc., Danbury, CN, reported a 13% rise in sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 to $2 billion, compared with $1.7 billion for the same period in 2004. Profit grew 19% to $345 million from the fourth quarter 2004.
For 2005, Praxair reported a 16% gain in sales to $7.7 billion. Profit was $726 million.
In North America, sales in the fourth quarter of $1.2 billion were up 11% from $1.13 billion in the year-ago quarter. Higher sales to manufacturing markets, strong oil and gas well services business, strong packaged-gases sales, and favorable pricing comparisons drove the year-over-year sales growth. Profit grew 20% to a record $193 million from $161 million a year ago.
In Europe, sales grew 12% to $263 million in the quarter. Excluding currency effects, sales grew 19%, due primarily to the purchase of industrial gas operations in Germany in 2004. Organic business activity remained stable, with 2% overall volume growth in the region. Operating profit grew to $61 million, from $56 million in the year-ago quarter. In South America, sales of $314 million grew 33% versus the year-ago quarter, and 14% excluding currency effects. Both higher pricing and higher volumes contributed to underlying sales growth. Sales growth came primarily from healthcare and manufacturing markets. Operating profit rose to $56 million from $41 million in last year's quarter.
Sales in Asia grew 10% to $148 million in the quarter due to strong demand from electronics, manufacturing and food-freezing markets in China, India, Korea, and Thailand. Operating profit rose to $25 million.
Praxair Surface Technologies' sales in the quarter were $112 million. Operating profit grew to $10 million versus $7 million in the year-ago quarter. Demand for OEM aviation coatings and sales of thermal spray powders continue to be strong.
Praxair produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others.