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Specialty chemical company Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD - Analyst Report) announced the launch of a new microsite, containing information about food processors, engaged in producing freezing products. The microsite comprises tools and videos that can help them maximize their operations and improve product quality.

One of the quintessential features of the site is a Freeze Time Calculator, which illustrates the benefits of liquid nitrogen freezing or chilling. The customers can compare freeze time and footprint for liquid nitrogen versus mechanical system by supplying specific information, such as type of food, and starting and ending temperatures, in the site. The customers can also access the Food Lab Scheduler and can try a product at one of Air Products' food labs.

The microsite also offers a library that includes articles, white papers, and customer testimonials. Further, it also provides videos, which explain how liquid nitrogen freezing works. The videos primarily demonstrate the advantages of continuous or process freezing compared to storage freezing. It also depicts various advantages of food freezing using liquid nitrogen.

Air Products provides atmospheric, process and specialty gases; performance materials; equipment; and technology products. Last month, the company released its fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 results. It logged adjusted earnings from continued operations of $1.42 a share for the quarter ended September 30, 2012, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a couple of cents.

Consolidated net income, as reported, plunged 57% year over year to $138.7 million or 65 cents a share, pummeled by hefty one-time charges. The company reported a profit of $324.8 million or $1.51 a share a year ago.

Revenues rose 4% to $2,606 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,574 million. The revenue growth was attributable to higher volumes in the Tonnage Gases, Equipment and Energy, and Electronics and Performance Materials divisions as well as sales increases due to acquisitions, partly offset by the impact of unfavorable currency. The company witnessed sluggish manufacturing activity in the quarter.

For fiscal 2012, the company reported adjusted earnings of $5.40 a share that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.42 but exceeded the year-ago level of $5.36. Sales for the year edged down 1% year over year to $9,612 million, but beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9,577 million.

For fiscal 2013, Air Products plans to take a number of steps including execution of its new Tonnage investments and sustained improvement in its Electronics and Performance Materials unit to attain better productivity.

The company expects that its recent strategic moves will act favorably for future growth and profitability despite the weak macroeconomic backdrop.
Air Products anticipates earnings per share between $5.65 and $5.85 for fiscal 2013, including $1.26 and $1.31 for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. The company also expects capital expenditures between $2 billion and $2.2 billion for the year.

Air Products, which competes with Praxair Inc. (PX - Analyst Report), currently holds a short-term (1 to 3 months) Zacks #4 Rank (Sell) and we have a long-term (more than 6 months) Underperform recommendation on the stock.
 

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