Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX), Danbury, CT, reported sales for the first quarter of $2.8 billion, a 9 percent decrease year-over-year, due to the impact of negative currency translation of 8 percent and lower cost pass-through of 2 percent. Profit decreased 7.1 percent to $416 million.
Organic sales growth of 1 percent was driven by higher price.
In North America, first-quarter sales were $1.5 billion, down 5 percent from the prior-year quarter. Organic sales growth of 1 percent was driven primarily by higher sales of merchant and packaged gases to food and beverage, healthcare and manufacturing end-markets. Acquisitions of U.S. packaged gas distributors contributed 1 percent growth.
In Europe, first-quarter sales were $326 million, 18 percent below the prior-year quarter. Excluding currency and net divestitures, organic sales were 1 percent above the prior year due primarily to price attainment.
In South America, first-quarter sales decreased 18 percent year-over-year to $401 million. Organic sales, excluding negative currency translation and cost pass-through, grew 1 percent primarily from higher price and growth to food and beverage and healthcare end-markets.
Sales in Asia were $371 million in the quarter, 5.4 percent below the prior year.
Praxair Surface Technologies had first-quarter sales of $160 million, a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation impact, organic sales grew 2 percent due to favorable overall pricing and volume growth primarily to the aerospace end-market.
"Growth headwinds persist from the strength of the U.S. dollar and the impact of lower commodity prices on our customer base," said CEO Steve Angel. "However, our less cyclical end-markets continue to perform well, which speaks to our strength in diversity of end-markets. We anticipate these trends will continue throughout 2015."