Airgas enters into settlement agreement with Praxair

Airgas, Inc. said at the end of April that it had settled a long-running suit with Praxair, Inc. related to Airgas“ 1996 acquisition of a stake in a North Carolina joint venture. A Praxair spokeswoma…

Airgas, Inc. said at the end of April that it had settled a long-running suit with Praxair, Inc. related to Airgas“ 1996 acquisition of a stake in a North Carolina joint venture. A Praxair spokeswoman wasn“t immediately available to confirm the settlement. Airgas wouldn“t disclose the full terms of the settlement, but said it would book a charge of US$ 5.5 million, or 8 cents a share, for the fourth quarter that ended 31 March. An Airgas spokesman reiterated that the company had, in January, expected fourth-quarter earnings to meet consensus estimates. In a press release, Airgas said the charge, which amounts to US$ 8.5 million before taxes, will be taken in addition to the company“s established reserves for litigation. The Airgas spokesman declined to estimate the company“s current litigation reserve, but he conceded the reserve had been drawn down since March 2001, when the balance was about US$ 7.1 million.