Airgas's Fourth Quarter Sales Up 14 Percent

Airgas Inc., the Radnor, Pa.-based distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and also welding and safety products, said yesterday that its sales rose by 14 percent in its fourth quarter, which ended March 31, from last year's fourth quarter. Income from continuing operations was $43.7 million (54 cents per diluted share) versuso $36million (45 cents).

"Wecapped the most successful year for acquisitions in our 25-year history," said Peter McCausland, the company's chairman and CEO. "The quarter included the acquisition of CFC Refimax in January and the March 9 acquisition of Linde¹s divested bulk gas business, bringing our year-end total to 13 acquisitions with more than $335 million in acquired revenue."

"Our non-residential construction and energy markets remain healthy," he added. "Along with our strategic products, they are helping to provide good growth in today¹s economic climate,² said McCausland. ³Most importantly, our growth is profitable. . . . Return on capital was 13.3 percent, an increase of 50 basis points over the prior year." The company's earnings teleconference will take place today, and a webcast of the teleconference will be available at www.shareholder.com/arg/medialist.cfm until June 1.

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