Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), one of the nation’s leading suppliers of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and related products, today reported sales and earnings results for its fourth quarter and full year ended March 31, 2014, which reflected the favorable impacts of the realization of SAP-related benefits as planned and share repurchases completed in the second half of fiscal 2013, but also reflected sluggish business conditions and the negative impact on the Company’s refrigerants business from the EPA’s March 2013 ruling. Results for the fourth quarter also reflected the negative impact of severe weather across much of the U.S. on both sales and expenses.
“We delivered record free cash flow* of $441 million and 9% growth in adjusted EPS* for fiscal 2014 in a sluggish economic environment,” said Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer Michael L. Molinini. “We remained focused on outstanding customer service, expense management, and execution of strategic initiatives, which included the achievement of our long-standing target of reaching a run-rate of more than $75 million in SAP-enabled operating income benefits by the end of calendar year 2013.”
Fourth Quarter Results
|Earnings per diluted share (GAAP)||$||1.17||$||1.13||
|State income tax benefits||(0.02||)||-|
|Restructuring and other special charges, net||-||0.01|
|Adjusted earnings per diluted share (non-GAAP)||$||1.15||$||1.14||1||%|
“We estimate that in our fourth quarter the net impact of severe weather conditions across much of the U.S. cost us at least $0.02 per diluted share more than expected, and the negative year-over-year impact on earnings related to our refrigerants business was $0.03 greater than anticipated,” Molinini added. “Absent those particular issues, our earnings for the quarter were within our guidance range.” The Company’s fourth quarter guidance had assumed year-over-year negative impacts of approximately $0.03 per diluted share due to severe weather conditions in January and $0.05 per diluted share related to refrigerants.