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AIRGAS, INC. REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS AND CASH FLOW IN SECOND QUARTER

AIRGAS, INC. REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS AND CASH FLOW IN SECOND QUARTER
 WILMINGTON, Del., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported today that net earnings increased 67 percent to $2,903,000 or $.38 per share during the second quarter ended Sept. 30, 1992, from $1,741,000 or $.27 per share in the second quarter last year.
 After-tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred taxes) increased 24 percent to $10,855,000 or $1.41 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, "Our continued focus on after-tax cash flow, the improvement in the operating performance of our weaker companies and our investment in gas assets, marketing programs and training have combined to produce record earnings and to put us in an ideal position to take advantage of an economic recovery."
 Net sales increased 18 percent to $102,456,000 during the second quarter ended Sept. 30, 1992 over the same period in the prior year primarily due to the acquisition of 23 industrial gas distribution companies since July 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 two for one stock split issuable on November 25, 1992 to stockholders of record on Nov. 12, 1992. Per share amounts within this press release have not been adjusted for the stock split.
 Six Months Ended Sept. 30, 1992
 Net earnings increased 69 percent to $5,409,000 or $.72 per share during the six months ended September 30, 1992 from $3,192,000 or $.50 per share last year. After tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred taxes) increased 23 percent to $20,891,000 or $2.77 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 19 percent to $200,317,000 during the six months ended Sept. 30, 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, with annual sales in excess of $400 million.
 AIRGAS, INC.
 Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (Unaudited; Amounts in thousands, except per-share data)
 Periods ended Three months Six months
 Sept. 30 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Net sales:
 Distribution $94,554 $81,790 $185,090 $158,833
 Manufacturing 7,902 4,841 15,227 9,887
 Total net sales 102,456 86,631 200,317 168,720
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of products sold
 (excluding depreciation and
 amortization) 52,347 44,108 102,515 86,032
 Selling, distribution and
 administrative expenses 34,698 29,991 68,032 58,526
 Depreciation and amortization 7,065 5,819 13,726 11,341
 Total costs and expenses 94,110 79,918 184,273 155,899
 Operating income:
 Distribution 6,766 5,671 13,165 10,761
 Manufacturing 1,580 1,042 2,879 2,060
 Total operating income 8,346 6,713 16,044 12,821
 Earnings related to a
 joint venture --- 446 --- 854
 Interest expense, net (2,930) (3,433) (5,702) (6,865)
 Other income, net 63 87 256 202
 Minority interest (43) (125) (173) (244)
 Earnings before income taxes 5,436 3,688 10,425 6,768
 Income taxes 2,533 1,947 5,016 3,576
 Net earnings $2,903 $1,741 $5,409 $3,192
 Per share: (A)
 Net earnings $.38 $.27 $.72 $.50
 Weighted average shares 7,706 7,091 7,547 7,026
 (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- 11/2/92
 /CONTACT: Britton H. Murdoch or Steve Kapp of Airgas, 215-687-5253/
 (ARG) CO: Airgas, Inc. ST: Delaware IN: SU: ERN


MP -- PH005 -- 1399 11/02/92 09:11 EST
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Date:Nov 2, 1992
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