Air Products' quarterly earnings continue to slide amid persistent
economic head winds.
The Trexlertown company reported Tuesday it earned a profit of $288 million on sales of $2.5 billion during the three months ended June 30.
Compared with the same period last year, profit was down 19 percent on sales that were up 9 percent.
"Productivity and solid execution offset continued economic weakness, enabling us to deliver earnings within guidance," CEO John McGlade said in a news release. "We are actively assessing additional actions that we can take that would result in increased value to our shareholders."
Air Products, the world's largest hydrogen producer, is one of two Lehigh Valley-based companies on the Fortune 500 list -- the other being PPL Corp. of Allentown. It has more than 20,000 employees in more than 50 countries, including 3,400 local workers, making it the region's No. 3 employer.
Because of its diverse customer base, which includes oil refineries, steelmakers, electronics manufacturers and health care companies, it serves as a good economic barometer.
"While our outlook for the remainder of our fiscal year continues to be tempered by the modest economic growth, our focus on increasing shareholder value remains unwavering," McGlade said. "Our emphasis on cost reduction, productivity improvement and disciplined project execution remain key priorities.
"Our future prospects are solid given our record project backlog and the significant leverage in our existing assets."
Air Products narrowed is full-year earnings per share forecast to a range of $5.47 to $5.53. Earlier in the year, the company had been predicting earnings in the range of $5.70 to $5.90.
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