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Air Products (APD) Wraps Up Spin-Off of Versum Materials


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Industrial gas giant Air Products (APD - Analyst Report) has wrapped up the separation of its Electronics Materials Division through the spin-off of Versum Materials, Inc. The company’s board approved the separation last month.  

Air Products’ shareholders receive one share of Versum common stock for every two shares of Air Products stock held by them as of Sep 21, 2016. Versum has started "regular way" trading on the NYSE under the symbol "VSM."

Seifi Ghasemi – CEO of Air Products and non-executive chairman of the Versum board – will join Guillermo Novo – president and CEO of Versum – and other members of the Versum team to ring the opening bell at the NYSE on Oct 4.

Air Products also noted that it is on track to complete the sale of the Performance Materials Division (“PMD”) of its Materials Technologies segment to Germany's Evonik Industries AG.

The spin-off of Versum and the planned sale of PMD will allow Air Products to direct resources to grow its core and stable industrial gases business. These actions (part of the company’s strategic five-point plan) are expected to enable Air Products to achieve its goal of becoming the safest and most profitable industrial gas company globally and create shareholder value in the longer term.

Air Products should gain from cost-cutting measures, new business deals and strategic investments. However, its industrial gases business in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”) region is seeing pressure from a weak operating environment. The company is also exposed to currency headwinds and still has a debt-laden balance sheet.

Air products has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the chemical space include Innophos Holdings Inc. (IPHS - Snapshot Report) , Olin Corp. (OLN - Snapshot Report) and The Chemours Company (CC - Snapshot Report) .

Innophos Holdings sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has an expected earnings growth of 48.6% for the current year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Olin, also a Zacks Rank #1 stock, has an expected earnings growth of 46% for the current year.

Chemours is a Zacks Rank #1 stock with an expected earnings growth of 7.6% for the current year.

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