While we are expecting that macro-economic conditions overall may continue to weaken in the near-term, we will continue to drive long-term growth through our strategy of focusing on energy, environmental and emerging markets opportunities.”
For the fourth quarter of 2012, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.35 to $1.40.
For the full year of 2012, Praxair expects sales in the area of $11.2 billion, which on a year-over-year comparison basis reflects negative currency effects and cost pass-through. For the full year of 2012, the company expects adjusted diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $5.54 to $5.59.* Excluding the impact of currency, adjusted full-year diluted earnings per share growth would be approximately 7% to 8% versus 2011.* Full-year capital expenditures are expected to be about $2.2 billion and the adjusted effective tax rate is forecasted to be about 28%.*
Following is additional detail on third-quarter 2012 results by segment.
In North America, third-quarter sales were $1,391 million, 2% below the prior-year quarter. Excluding the effects of lower cost pass-through and currency translation, sales grew 4% primarily from higher pricing and acquisitions of packaged gas distributors. Sales grew to the manufacturing, energy and metals markets. Operating profit of $374 million grew 10% from the prior year due primarily to higher pricing and ongoing productivity initiatives.
In Europe, third-quarter sales were $352 million. Sales were 2% below the prior-year quarter due primarily to negative currency translation which decreased sales by 13%. Lower underlying volumes, primarily in Spain and Italy, were offset by higher price and the consolidation of an acquisition in Scandinavia in 2011. Operating profit of $60 million was $8 million below the prior-year quarter, due to negative currency translation and lower volumes.
In South America, third-quarter sales were $516 million, 15% lower than the prior-year quarter due to the impact of negative currency translation. Underlying sales increased 1% versus the prior-year quarter. Operating profit was $112 million as compared to $140 million in the prior-year period due to negative currency translation and lower merchant and packaged gas volumes.