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AIRGAS, INC. REPORTS 67 PERCENT INCREASE IN EARNINGS IN FIRST QUARTER

 RADNOR, Pa., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported today that net earnings increased 67 percent to $4,192,000 or $.26 per share during the first quarter ended June 30, 1993, from $2,506,000 or $.17 per share in the first quarter last year.
 After-tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred taxes) increased 25 percent to $12,580,000 or $.79 per share from $10,036,000 in the first quarter last year.
 The increase in net earnings is primarily due to an increase in gross profits from higher distribution sales and increased gross profit margins, strong cash flow resulting in lower interest costs due to debt repayment and a decrease in depreciation expense as a result of a lengthening of the estimated service lives of high pressure and acetylene cylinders from 20 to 30 years. The effect of the depreciation change was to decrease the current quarter's depreciation expense by $700,000 ($420,000 after taxes). Excluding the change, net earnings per share were $.24 during the quarter ended June 30, 1993.
 Net sales increased 18 percent to $115,934,000 during the first quarter ended June 30, 1993, over the same period in the prior year primarily due to the acquisition of 21 industrial gas distribution companies since April 1, 1992. Same-store distribution sales increased approximately 1 percent from the prior year.
 The company adopted Statement of Accounting Standards No. 109- "Accounting for Income Taxes" during the quarter ended June 30, 1993. The adoption of FAS 109 resulted in an increase in depreciation and amortization expense and an offsetting decrease in income tax expense.
 Airgas, Inc. is the largest distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases in the United States with more than 275 locations.
 AIRGAS, INC.
 Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (Unaudited; amounts in thousands, except per share data)
 Three Months Ended June 30 1993 1992
 Net sales:
 Distribution $107,861 $90,536
 Manufacturing 8,073 7,325
 Total net sales 115,934 97,861
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of products sold
 (excluding depreciation
 and amortization)
 Distribution 53,775 45,533
 Manufacturing 5,119 4,635
 Selling, distribution and
 administrative expenses 39,516 33,334
 Depreciation and amortization 7,291 6,661
 Total costs and expenses 105,701 90,163
 Operating income:
 Distribution 8,692 6,399
 Manufacturing 1,541 1,299
 Total 10,233 7,698
 Interest expense, net (2,920) (2,772)
 Other income, net 70 193
 Minority interest (56) (130)
 Earnings before income taxes 7,327 4,989
 Income taxes 3,135 2,483
 Net earnings $ 4,192 $ 2,506
 Earnings Per Share:
 Primary $.26 $.17
 Fully diluted $.26 $.17
 Weighted average shares 15,986 14,951
 /delval/
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Britton H. Murdoch of Airgas, 215-687-5253/
 (ARG)


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

MP-MK -- PH001 -- 6581 07/28/93 08:13 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993
Words:478
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