Praxair Inc. announced fourth-quarter net income of $406 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.41, compared with $422 million and $1.47, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 2015. The Danbury-based gas supplier said revenue for the period was $2.64 billion, less than Wall Street expectations but a year-over-year improvement from nearly $2.6 billion.
For the year, the company reported profit of $1.5 billion, or $5.21 per share, while revenue was reported as $10.53 billion – again, down from the previous year’s $1.55 billion or $5.35 per share and revenue of $10.8 billion.
Praxair expects full-year earnings to be $5.45 to $5.80 per share.
Meanwhile, its board of directors declared a 5 percent increase in the company’s quarterly dividend – its 24th consecutive annual increase – to 78.75 cents per share, payable on March 15 to common shareholders of record as of March 7.
Praxair Chairman and CEO Steve Angel said the company had “demonstrated operational excellence by again delivering high-quality results despite facing another challenging global economic year.
“Expanding our presence in more resilient end-markets including food, beverage, health care and aerospace is a key component of our strategy,” he added, noting that Praxair won seven new large on-site projects during the year that brought its backlog to just over $1.5 billion, 70 percent of which supported its Gulf Coast network.
Praxair ended 2016 by announcing a merger with Munich gas giant Linde AG; based on 2015 reported results, the deal would create a behemoth with pro forma revenues of about $30 billion prior to divestitures, and a current market value of over $65 billion.
“We view this as a compelling opportunity to create substantial value for stakeholders,” Angel said. “This announcement is the first step in a process that will take some time to complete. While we pursue this opportunity, rest assured our employees will remain laser focused on operational excellence and executing our core strategy.”