Airgas, Inc., distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, welding, safety, and related products, reported sales in its fiscal 2008 were up 25% to $4 billion, with same-store sales growth of 7%.
Airgas made 18 acquisitions in fiscal 2008, adding more than $500 million in annualized revenue, including Linde's U.S. packaged gas business, which added $346 million.
These transactions helped us enhance our core business and extend our product lines, with acquisitions in packaged gases and welding products, safety products, ammonia, and refrigerants,"said CEO Peter McCausland.
Fourth quarter sales grew 27% from the prior year to $1.1 billion, with acquisitions contributing 17% of the growth. Total same-store sales increased 8% in the quarter, with hardgoods up 4% and gas and rent up 11%. Profit was up 47% to $64.2 million.
"Despite a slowing economy, our strategic product categories, which focus on the healthcare, research, environmental, and food and beverage markets, posted 11% organic growth in the quarter,"said McCausland. "Our energy and infrastructure construction customers remain strong. Rising export activity and strength in U.S. infrastructure projects are also helping many of our core industrial customers, offsetting the economic slowdown. We continue to grow profitably, as the operating margin in the quarter expanded to 12.1%, an improvement of 120 basis points over last year."