Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX), Danbury, CT, reported full-year sales for 2014 of $12.3 billion, a 2.9 percent increase from 2013. Profit decreased 3.5 percent to $1.7 billion.
Sales for the fourth quarter were slightly less than $3 billion, a 0.7 percent decrease from the same period a year ago, with organic sales growth of 2 percent being driven by higher pricing and growth in merchant and packaged gas volumes. Profit for the quarter decreased 36.3 percent to $302 million.
In North America, fourth-quarter sales were $1.6 billion, up 1.4 percent from the prior-year quarter. Organic sales growth of 2 percent was driven by higher pricing and growth in merchant and packaged gas volumes. Acquisitions of U.S. packaged gas distributors contributed 1 percent growth. Operating profit of $388 million grew 2 percent from the prior year, excluding negative currency translation, primarily due to higher volumes, higher price and acquisitions.
In Europe, fourth-quarter sales were $356 million, 11.9 percent below the prior-year quarter. Excluding currency, cost passthrough and net divestitures, organic sales were 1 percent below prior year due primarily to weaker sales in Northern Europe. Operating profit was $63 million.
In South America, fourth-quarter sales were $473 million, 2 percent below the prior-year quarter. Organic sales, excluding negative currency translation, grew 8 percent primarily from growth to food and beverage and healthcare end-markets. Operating profit was $105 million, above the prior-year quarter excluding currency translation, due primarily to volume growth and higher pricing.
Sales in Asia were $407 million in the quarter, 3.3 percent above the prior year, driven by volume growth in on-site, including new plant start-ups, and merchant. Operating profit was $77 million as compared to $80 million in the prior year
Praxair Surface Technologies had fourth-quarter sales of $165 million as compared to $164 million in the prior-year quarter. Organic sales grew 1 percent due to favorable pricing. Overall volumes were comparable to the prior-year period. Operating profit was $30 million as compared to $27 million in the prior year.
“Looking forward to 2015, we expect modest global growth," said President and CEO Steve Angel. "More than half of our sales are generated in North America and … we will continue to take advantage of the underlying economic strengths of the region."