Praxair reports record second-quarter earnings

At the end of July, Praxair, Inc. reported record second-quarter 2002 diluted earnings per share of 91 cents and net income of US$ 150 million, versus 77 cents and US$ 126 million in the prior year qu…

At the end of July, Praxair, Inc. reported record second-quarter 2002 diluted earnings per share of 91 cents and net income of US$ 150 million, versus 77 cents and US$ 126 million in the prior year quarter. Net income for the quarter included US$ 11 million of benefit, or 7 cents per share, resulting from a litigation settlement net of expenses, and recognition of currency hedge gains related to earnings in future quarters. Without this benefit, diluted earnings per share were 84 cents. Sales for the period were US$ 1,307 million, in line with 2001 second-quarter sales and sequentially up 6% from the 2002 first quarter. Cash flow from operations was US$ 260 million and capital expenditures were US$ 114 million. Overall sales in North America declined 4% versus the prior year“s quarter, but grew 6% from the first quarter of 2002. The North American homecare business continued to grow sales at an annualized rate in excess of 10%, excluding acquisitions. In the electronics business, sales of sputtering targets for thin film metal deposition were strong, and shipments of electrostatic chucks for semiconductor manufacturing grew to record levels. Sales in South America grew year-over-year by 4% in dollar terms and 19% in local currency. Sales were up nearly 10% in Europe and 36% in Asia, including the effect of consolidations. Praxair increased its earnings guidance for the full year 2002 to a range of US$ 3.30 to US$ 3.38 per diluted share. In the third quarter, the company expects to earn 77 cents to 81 cents, including the negative impact of a non-recurring charge of 7 cents for early debt retirement. Excluding this charge, expected diluted earnings per share would be 84 cents to 88 cents. This guidance assumes an exchange rate of one Euro to the U.S. dollar and three Brazilian reais to the dollar for the second half of 2002. This guidance excludes the effect of the SFAS 142 goodwill transition charge. Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2001 sales of US$ 5.1 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings.