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9 Companies With Raised Dividends, Upside: Analysts

8. Airgas (ARG - Get Report), operating through its subsidiaries, is a distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases (delivered in packaged or cylinder form) and hard goods such as welding equipment and supplies.

Net income for the 2011 fourth quarter was reported at $62.6 million, or 74 cents per share, versus $40.1 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue grew 12.1% to $1.1 billion from 98 million on an 11% increase in same-store sales. For the full year, net income surged 27.2% to $249.8 million, or $2.93 per share, compared to $196.3 million, or $2.34 per share, on revenue growth of 9.7%, to $4.3 billion last year.

As of March 31, 2011, the company completed a $300 million share repurchase program announced on Feb. 16, 2011; it bought back 4.78 million shares in the open market at an average price of $62.76. The company increased its dividend payout by 33% in fiscal 2011. Furthermore, Airgas also increased the quarterly cash dividend on its common stock by 16% from 25 cents per share to 29 cents per share.

The company currently has a dividend yield of 1.86%. Rated by 15 analysts, the stock has buys from 60% of them and holds from 33%. On average, analysts estimate an increase from current levels of 15.7%, to $76.9 in value.

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