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AIRGAS, INC. REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS IN SECOND QUARTER

 RADNOR, Pa., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported today that net earnings increased 60 percent to $4,633,000 or $.29 per share during the second quarter ended Sept. 30, 1993, from $2,903,000 or $.19 per share in the second quarter last year.
 After-tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred income taxes) increased 26 percent to $13,662,000 or $.85 per share from $10,855,000 in the second quarter last year.
 The increase in net earnings is primarily due to higher distribution sales, increased gross profit margins, strong cash flow resulting in lower interest costs due to debt repayment, acquisitions and a decrease in depreciation expense. Decreased depreciation arose primarily from an increase in the estimated service lives of industrial gas cylinders which decreased the current quarter's depreciation expense by $775,000 ($465,000 after taxes) or $.03 per share.
 Net sales increased 24 percent to $126,763,000 during the second quarter ended Sept. 30, 1993 over the same period in the prior year primarily due to the acquisition of 24 industrial gas distribution companies since July 1, 1992.
 The effect of the increase in corporate tax rates on the company's deferred income tax liability was primarily offset by a revision of prior period tax estimates. Therefore, there is no impact on the current period tax provision.
 Six Months Ended Sept. 30, 1993
 Net earnings increased 63 percent to $8,825,000 or $.55 per share during the six months ended Sept. 30, 1993, from $5,409,000 or $.36 per share last year. After-tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred income taxes) increased 26 percent to $26,242,000 or $1.63 per share from $20,891,000 in the prior year.
 The increase in net earnings is primarily due to higher distribution sales, increased gross profit margins, acquisitions and strong cash flow resulting in lower interest costs due to debt n?t and a decrease in depreciation expense.
 Net sales increased 21 percent to $242,697,000 during the six months ended September 30, 1993 over the same period in the prior year primarily due to the acquisition of 26d?ustrial gas distribution companies since April 1, 1992.
 Airgas, Inc. is the largest distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases in the United States with more than 300 locations.
 AIRGAS, INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
 (Amounts in thousands, except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 Sept. 30, 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net sales:
 Distribution $119,186 $ 94,554 $227,047 $185,090
 Manufacturing 7,577 7,902 15,650 15,227
 Total net sales 126,763 102,456 242,697 200,317
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of products sold
 (excluding depreciation
 and amortization)
 Distribution 58,358 47,571 112,133 93,104
 Manufacturing 4,587 4,776 9,706 9,411
 Selling, distribution and
 administrative expenses 44,444 34,698 83,960 68,032
 Depreciation and
 amortization 7,729 7,065 15,020 13,726
 Total costs and expenses 115,118 94,110 220,819 184,273
 Operating income:
 Distribution 10,050 6,766 18,742 13,165
 Manufacturing 1,595 1,580 3,136 2,879
 Total operating income 11,645 8,346 21,878 16,044
 Interest expense, net (3,339) (2,930) (6,259) (5,702)
 Other income, net 111 63 181 256
 Minority interest (69) (43) (125) (173)
 Earnings before income taxes 8,348 5,436 15,675 10,425
 Income taxes 3,715 2,533 6,850 5,016
 Net earnings $ 4,633 $ 2,903 $ 8,825 $ 5,409
 Per share: (A)
 Primary $.29 $.19 $.55 $.36
 Fully-Diluted $.29 $.19 $.55 $.36
 Weighted average shares 16,155 5,412 16,100 15,093
 (A) Per share amounts were determined by using the treasury stock method which assumes the exercise of all outstanding options and warrants.
 /delval/
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Britton H. Murdoch of Airgas, 215-687-5253/
 (ARG)


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

MJ -- PH003 -- 7672 10/28/93 07:37 EDT
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Date:Oct 28, 1993
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