Airgas, Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Profits Climb By Double Figures Again

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG) reported its results for the first quarter. Airgas, Inc., through its subsidiaries, distributes industrial, medical, and specialty gases and hardgoods in the United States. It offers a range of gases, including nitrogen and helium, as well as welding and fuel gases. .

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Airgas Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for the industrial equipment wholesale company rose to $74.8 million (93 cents per share) vs. $64.8 million (76 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 15.5% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 10.6% to $1.16 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: ARG reported adjusted net income of 99 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 96 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.15 billion.

Quoting Management: “Although more than a year old, the economic recovery has been slow, and the strength displayed in manufacturing-intensive regions of the U.S. and in our hardgoods business is indicative of the early stages of a recovery,” said Airgas Chief Executive Officer Peter McCausland. “Since the beginning of our fiscal year in April, we have acquired four businesses with nearly $70 million in aggregate annual revenues, including industrial gas and welding distributor ABCO in New England, as well as carbon dioxide and dry ice producer and distributor Pain Enterprises in the Midwestern U.S.”

Key Stats:

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, net income rose 56.1% and in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, the figure rose 19.1%.

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by 3 cents in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, by one cent in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, and by 2 cents in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Gross margin shrank 0.5 percentage point to 54.4%. The contraction appeared to be driven by increased costs, which rose 11.7% from the year earlier quarter while revenue rose 10.6%.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 12.5% to $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. The figure rose 9.8% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year from the year earlier and climbed 10.3% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

Competitors to Watch: Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD), Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), and Rentech, Inc. (AMEX:RTK).

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(Source: Xignite Financials)

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