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Last week, Praxair Canada acquired British Columbia-based distributor of industrial gases and welding equipment, Canadian Cylinder & Gases Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition adds 15-years of experience and a solid client base of Canadian Cylinder & Gases to Praxair’s portfolio, in addition to fostering its overall capacity and presence in British Columbia.
Also, beginning June 2012, Praxair Canada acquired as many as five operating units of Airgas Inc. ( ARG - Snapshot Report ) for an undisclosed amount. The branches acquired were located at Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton, Alberta, and Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in western Canada. The acquisition enabled Praxair to better access the medical homecare and industrial markets in the region.
Thus we foresee solid long-term growth prospects for Praxair as the company strives to achieve its long-term targets of annual organic sales growth of 8%-12%; operating profit growth of 10%-15%, and earnings growth of 12%-18% by 2015. Moreover, we appreciate the company’s earnest effort in returning values to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks which makes the stock all the more attractive.
The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter of 2012 is $1.43, representing a year-over-year increase of 3.68%. Estimates for the fiscal years 2012 and 2013 are $5.81 and $6.61, reflecting annual growth of 6.98% and 13.79%, respectively.
Praxair is slated to release its second quarter 2012 financial results on July 25, while its prime competitor, Air Products & Chemicals Inc. ( APD - Analyst Report ) is expected to release its third quarter results on July 24, 2012.
We maintain a Neutral recommendation on Praxair. The stock also carries a Zacks #4 Rank, implying a short-term (1-3 months) Sell rating.
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