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Praxair Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Today's presentation materials are available on our website at in the Investors section. Please read the forward-looking statement disclosure on Page 2 of the slides and note that it applies to all statements made during this teleconference.

In addition, please note that sequential comparisons include an adjustment in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the reconciliation to the U.S. GAAP reported numbers are in the appendix to this presentation and the press release. Jim and I will now review Praxair's first quarter results and outlook. We'll then be available to answer questions.

James S. Sawyer

Thank you, Kelcey, and good morning, everyone. Praxair turned in another solid quarter, with EPS growth of 7% year-on-year despite currency headwinds and weakening economic conditions in several markets. Our North American segment, Canada, the United States, and Mexico, turned in a stellar performance with operating profit growth of 16%, fueled by improving manufacturing conditions and strong operating leverage as volumes rebounded. In Europe, we experienced lower volumes and negative operating leverage particularly due to the financial crisis affecting Spain and Italy. In South America, operating profit was negatively impacted as currency devaluation, a recession in Brazil and production distribution dislocations in our operations all occurred at the same time. In Asia, a strong performance in industrial gases with much of our production capacity sold-out was partially offset by bond [ph] volumes and prices of product sold to the electronics and solar markets.

Fully diluted earnings per share were $1.38. Earnings included about $10 million of other income attributable to the net effect of gains on asset sales and the recognition of income from a legal settlement, partially offset by some restructuring and severance costs. Excluding the onetime items, the underlying run rate of EPS is closer to $1.36.

For the second quarter, we're expecting a continuation of the same business trends and are issuing earnings guidance of $1.40 to $1.45. For the full year, our earnings guidance is $5.75 to $5.90, increasing the bottom end of the range by $0.05. We do expect a stronger second half of 2012 as the Brazil economy gets back on track to a 4% annualized GDP growth rate and as the electronics sector picks up in the fall.

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