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Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX), Danbury, CT, reported sales for the first quarter of $2.2 billion, an 8.7 percent increase year-over-year. Sales were up 6% excluding higher cost pass-through and positive currency translation effect. Sales growth was primarily driven by higher volumes in North America, Europe and Asia and included new project start-ups. By end-market, sales growth was led by metals, downstream energy, chemicals and electronics.
Profit for the quarter increased 9.2 percent to $389 million.
In North America, first-quarter sales were $1.45 billion, up 7.7 percent from the prior-year quarter. Sales growth was driven primarily by stronger volumes to downstream energy, metals, chemicals, food and beverage and healthcare end-markets and higher price. Acquisitions contributed 1% growth, primarily packaged gas distributors.
In Europe, first-quarter sales were $356 million, up 11.2 percent from the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency and positive cost pass-through, sales grew 13% from the prior year due to higher volumes including project start-ups, and acquisitions primarily related to the carbon dioxide business largely serving the food and beverage end-market.
In South America, first-quarter sales increased 18.6 percent year-over-year to $369 million. Excluding positive currency translation, sales grew 1% due to higher price. Volume growth from project start-ups was offset by continued negative underlying base volumes in Brazil, primarily the manufacturing end-market.
Sales in Asia were $395 million in the quarter, 5 percent above the prior year Excluding currency, cost pass-through and a prior-year net divestiture, sales grew 8%, driven by higher volumes in China, India and Korea, primarily to the electronics, metals and chemicals end-markets.
Praxair Surface Technologies had first-quarter sales of $150 million, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation, sales were 3%above the prior-year period driven by favorable price and higher aerospace volumes, partially offset by weaker sales to the energy end-markets.