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AIRGAS, INC. REPORTS 66 PERCENT INCREASE IN THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS

 WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported today that net earnings increased 66 percent to $2,905,000 or $.19 per share during the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992, from $1,750,000 or $.12 per share fully diluted in the third quarter last year.
 After-tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred income taxes) increased 24 percent to $10,684,000 or $.67 per share. The increase in net earnings is primarily due to increased profits from distribution operations including strong cash flow and resultant lower interest costs due to debt repayment and lower interest rates.
 Peter McCausland, chairman and chief executive officer, stated, "We are pleased to report our sixth consecutive quarter of record earnings. Our company-wide focus on cash flow and debt repayment has allowed us to maintain an aggressive acquisition pace resulting in the addition of $52 million of distribution sales during the last 12 months while increasing total debt by only $13 million."
 Net sales increased 14 percent to $101,378,000 during the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992, over the same period in the prior year primarily due to the acquisition of 24 industrial gas distribution companies since Oct. 1, 1991, and the addition of calcium carbide revenues. Calcium carbide revenues were netted within "Earnings Related to a Joint Venture" prior to April 1, 1992.
 On Oct. 21, 1992, the company's board of directors approved a 2-for-1 stock split issuable on Nov. 25, 1992, to stockholders of record on Nov. 12, 1992. All per share amounts have been adjusted for the stock split.
 Nine Months Ended Dec. 31, 1992
 Net earnings increased 68 percent to $8,314,000 or $.53 per share fully diluted during the nine months ended Dec. 31, 1992 from $4,942,000 or $.35 per share last year. After tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred income taxes) increased 23 percent to $31,575,000 or $2.00 per share. The increase in net earnings is primarily due to increased profits from distribution operations including strong cash flow and resultant lower interest costs due to debt repayment and lower interest rates.
 Net sales increased 17 percent to $301,695,000 during the nine months ended Dec. 31, 1992, over the same period in the prior year due to the acquisition of industrial gas distribution businesses and the addition of calcium carbide revenues.
 Airgas, Inc. is the largest distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases in the United States.
 AIRGAS, INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
 (Unaudited; Amounts in thousands, except per-share data)
 Periods ended Three months Nine months
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Net sales:
 Distribution $93,486 $83,790 $278,576 $242,623
 Manufacturing 7,892 4,888 23,119 14,775
 Total net sales 101,378 88,678 301,695 257,398
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of products sold
 (excluding depreciation
 and amortization):
 Distribution 46,341 41,801 139,445 122,098
 Manufacturing 4,909 2,850 14,320 8,585
 Selling, distribution and
 administrative expenses 35,149 31,588 103,181 90,114
 Depreciation and
 amortization 6,902 6,072 20,628 17,413
 Total costs and expenses 93,301 82,311 277,574 238,210
 Operating income:
 Distribution 6,546 5,435 19,711 16,196
 Manufacturing 1,531 932 4,410 2,992
 Total operating income 8,077 6,367 24,121 19,188
 Earnings related
 to a joint venture --- 492 --- 1,346
 Interest expense, net (2,801) (3,227) (8,503) (10,092)
 Other income, net 161 4 417 206
 Minority interest (24) (119) (197) (363)
 Earnings before
 income taxes 5,413 3,517 15,838 10,285
 Income taxes 2,508 1,767 7,524 5,343
 Net earnings $2,905 $1,750 $8,314 $4,942
 Per share: (A)
 Primary $.19 $.13 $.55 $.38
 Fully diluted .19 .12 .53 .35
 Weighted average shares 15,968 14,324 15,798 13,966
 (A) Per share amounts were determined by using the modified treasury stock method which assumes the exercise of all outstanding options and warrants.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/28/93
 /CONTACT: Britton H. Murdoch or Steve Kapp of Airgas, 215-687-5253/
 (ARG)


CO: Airgas, Inc. ST: Delaware IN: SU: ERN

MP -- PH006 -- 0061 01/28/93 08:55 EST
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Date:Jan 28, 1993
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