Praxair, Inc., Danbury, CT, reported first quarter sales of $2.6 billion, up 22% from the first quarter 2007. Profit was $307 million.
Growth came primarily from new business, plant start-ups, and strong pricing trends.
In North America, first-quarter sales reached $1.4 billion, 21% above the prior year. Sales grew in all major end markets, led by energy and general manufacturing.
In Europe, sales in the first quarter of $390 million grew 18%. Currency effects contributed 13% to sales growth. Underlying sales growth came primarily from growth in merchant and packaged gases volumes in Spain, Italy, and Germany.
In South America, first-quarter sales of $466 million grew 34% versus the prior-year quarter due to higher prices and volumes, and favorable currency effects of 19%. Sales growth came primarily from higher sales to metals and manufacturing markets, and new plant start-ups.
Sales in Asia grew 26% to $211 million in the quarter primarily attributable to strong volume growth. Sales in China, India, and Korea increased to electronics, chemicals and manufacturing markets.
Praxair Surface Technologies had first-quarter sales of $142 million, 14% above the prior-year quarter. Higher sales to energy markets primarily drove sales growth.
Praxair is an industrial gases company with 2007 sales of $9.4 billion.