Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG), Radnor, PA, distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and related supplies, reported sales in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2010, were $980 million. Total same-store sales from the prior-year period were down 3 percent, with hardgoods down 2 percent, and gas and rent down 3 percent. Acquisitions contributed 2 percent sales growth in the quarter. Profit for the quarter was $40.1 million. Airgas' earnings did see an impact from legal fees related to the Air Products' takeover attempt.
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“The economic recovery appears to be building momentum, as daily sales rates improved sequentially for the second consecutive quarter, and March was our first positive same-store sales month since November 2008,” said Airgas CEO Peter McCausland. “Conditions continued to improve in our manufacturing customer base, and our Great Lakes region posted the strongest gains while hardgoods sales began to rebound nationwide.
"The signs point to a strengthening industrial economy, and we expect to achieve same-store sales growth in the mid- to high-single digits for fiscal 2011.”
For the full fiscal year 2010, sales fell 11 percent to $3.9 billion. Acquisitions contributed 3 percent sales growth for the year, while total same-store sales declined by 14 percent, with hardgoods down 20 percent, and gas and rent down 10 percent. Profit was $196.3 million, down from $261.1 million in 2009.
Airgas acquired six businesses in fiscal 2010, with aggregate annual revenue of more than $47 million.
"Airgas is poised to capitalize on the substantial infrastructure investment and industry consolidation we have achieved over the last decade as the economic recovery takes shape," McCausland said. "There is significant value to be realized for our stockholders through the execution of our business strategies, continued focus on operating efficiency programs, and implementation of our SAP system, which we will begin to roll out in July.”
Airgas has more than 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities, and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog, and telesales channels.