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AIRGAS REPORTS 37 PERCENT EARNINGS INCREASE IN THIRD QUARTER

 AIRGAS REPORTS 37 PERCENT EARNINGS INCREASE IN THIRD QUARTER
 WILMINGTON, Del., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) reported today that net earnings increased 37 percent to $1,750,000 or $.25 per share during the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991, from $1,281,000 or $.22 per share in the third quarter last year.
 After tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred taxes) increased 17 percent to $8,590,000 or $1.20 per share from $7,313,000 or $1.02 per share in the third quarter last year. The increase in net earnings is primarily due to the company's strong cash flow resulting in lower interest costs due to debt repayment, lower interest rates and the discontinuance of unprofitable medical home care operations in March 1991. Peter McCausland, chairman and chief executive officer, stated that, "While Airgas continues to feel the effects of the recession on hardgoods sales, net earnings have continued to grow due to stable gas revenues and cylinder rental income and the company's strong cash flow."
 Net sales increased 8 percent to $88,678,000 during the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991, over the save period in the prior year due to the acquisition of industrial gas distribution companies and are net of a decline in same-store sales of approximately 6 percent from the prior year because of the weakened economy.
 Nine Months Ended Dec. 31, 1991:
 Net earnings increased 20 percent to $4,942,000 or $.75 per share during the nine months ended Dec. 31, 1991 from $4,104,000 or $.67 per share last year. After tax cash flow (net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and deferred taxes) increased 17 percent to $25,573,000 or $3.66 per share during the nine months ended Dec. 31, 1991, from $21,793,000 or $3.06 per share in the prior year. The increase in net earnings is primarily due to lower interest costs resulting from debt repayment, lower interest rates and the effect of cost reduction programs.
 Net sales increased 7 percent to $257,398,000 during the nine months ended Dec. 31, 1991, over the same period in the prior year due to the acquisition of industrial gas distribution businesses.
 Airgas, Inc. is the largest distributor of Industrial, Medical and Specialty Gases in the United States.
 AIRGAS, INC.
 Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (Unaudited; in thousands of dollars, except per-share data)
 Periods ended Three months Nine months
 Dec. 31 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Net sales:
 Distribution $83,790 $76,003 $242,623 $224,302
 Manufacturing 4,888 5,978 14,775 16,122
 Total net sales 88,678 81,981 257,398 240,424
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of products sold
 (excluding depreciation
 and amortization) 44,651 41,808 130,683 124,025
 Selling, distribution and
 administrative expenses 31,588 28,615 90,114 82,929
 Depreciation and amortization 6,072 5,441 17,413 15,490
 Total costs and expenses 82,311 75,864 238,210 222,444
 Operating income:
 Distribution 5,435 4,949 16,196 14,964
 Manufacturing 932 1,168 2,992 3,016
 Total operating income 6,367 6,117 19,188 17,980
 Earnings related to a
 joint venture 492 360 1,346 1,467
 Interest expense net (3,227) (3,885) (10,092) (11,469)
 Other income, net 4 53 206 593
 Minority interest (119) (54) (363) (206)
 Earnings before income taxes 3,517 2,591 10,285 8,365
 Income taxes 1,767 1,310 5,343 4,261
 Net earnings $1,750 $1,281 $4,942 $4,104
 Per share (A):
 Net earnings $.25 $.22 $.75 $.67
 Weighted average shares 7,162 7,138 6,983 7,125
 (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- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Britton H. Murdoch or Steve Kapp of Airgas, 215-687-5253/
 (ARG) CO: Airgas, Inc. ST: Delaware IN: SU: ERN


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1992
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