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Praxair Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

In fact, operating cash flow was a record $75 million, representing more than 25% of our sales.

Our debt-to-capital ratio for the quarter was 53% and debt-to-EBITDA was 1.9x. During the quarter, we paid dividends of $164 million, and repurchased stock of $104 million, net of issuances. $1.3 billion remains available under the share repurchase program authorized in January of this year. After-tax return on capital for the quarter was 14.2%, and reflects the large amount of projects under construction, and therefore, a significant amount of project capital on our balance sheet not yet completed. Return on equity increased to 29.7%.

Now please turn to Slide 4 for our updated earnings guidance. In the third quarter, we see a continuation of similar business trends sequentially, and are issuing earnings guidance in the range $1.35 to $1.40. This guidance reflects the assumption of an additional $0.03 of currency headwind sequentially from the second quarter, as the major currencies swings occurred in late April. On a year-over-year basis, our third quarter earnings expectation reflects negative currency translation impact of about $0.12 per share. As such, for the full year, we've lowered our earnings guidance to $5.60 to $5.70 or about $0.15 to $0.20 from the prior guidance.

The majority of the reduction, or about 2/3, relates to negative currency translation impact based on current exchange rates. Additionally, volumes everywhere outside of North America are falling short of expectations, and we're not anticipating macroeconomic conditions to improve in the second half. Our long-term growth outlook remains strong and we're maintaining our capital spending forecast of $2.1 billion to $2.4 billion against the backlog of $2.5 billion of projects under construction, with committed customer contracts. As these projects start up over the next 2 to 3 years, they will contribute significantly to sales and earnings growth. The backlog remains strong at $2.5 billion, and reflects 5 plant startups during the quarter, as well as signings in 4 new plants under construction for long-term contracts.

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