Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD - Free Report) inaugurated a world-scale industrial gas complex within the Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (“IREP”) of the BPCL Kochi Refinery, at Kochi, India.
The build-own-operate project is one of the biggest of its kind in terms of investment in India. The commissioning of the IREP in 2017 has enabled BPCL Kochi Refinery to manufacture auto-fuels complying with Euro-IV/Euro-V specifications. The addition of Air Products' Kochi industrial gas complex will be an important part of BPCL's IREP.
Besides producing cleaner fuels through upgraded fuel specification, the industrial gases manufactured at the complex including hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and steam will allow BPCL to increase refining capacity by nearly two-thirds, from 190,000 to 310,000 barrels per day.
The world-class facility comes with one of the most efficient and flexible HyCO (hydrogen/carbon monoxide) plants in Air Products' global plant fleet. This technologically advanced plant has been built using Air Products' proprietary technology, incorporating state-of-the-art safety features which also deliver reliability and environmental performance. Additionally, the new complex provides employment to around 50 people.
One of the key features of the plant is that a gas turbine is integrated into the design of the twin steam methane reformers which is designed and built by Air Products with a combined capacity of 16.4 tons per hour of hydrogen production.
The Kochi gas complex has been built in association with Air Products' long-term alliance partner, TechnipFMC. The joint effort of both companies has set up 35 hydrogen production plants in 11 countries that produces over two billion standard cubic meters of hydrogen per day for clean fuels production.
BPCL and Air Products also looking forward to commissioning a second project at Kochi under a long-term deal signed in January 2018. Per the deal, the companies will build, own and operate a new syngas production facility to be located alongside the current BOO project. This facility will supply BPCL's new Propylene Derivates Petrochemical Project.
Air Products’ shares have moved up 15.5% over a year, outperforming the industry’s 10.8% gain.
Air Products, last month, raised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2018 factoring in the expected contribution from the Lu'An syngas project. The company now expects its adjusted earnings to be in the range of $7.25-$7.40 per share (a 15-17% increase from the prior year), up from its earlier view of $7.15-$7.35 per share.
Moreover, the company expects adjusted earnings to be in the band of $1.80 to $1.85 per share for the fiscal third quarter, up 9-12% year over year. It also sees capital expenditure of $1.8-$2 billion for fiscal 2018.
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Price and Consensus
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Air Products currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked companies in the basic materials space worth considering are FMC Corporation (FMC - Free Report) , Huntsman Corporation (HUN - Free Report) and Celanese Corporation (CE - Free Report) . All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
FMC Corp has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 13.6%. Its shares have gained around 18.7% over a year.
Huntsman has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8.3%. Its shares have moved up around 20.4% over a year.
Celanese has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8.9%. Its shares have gained around 23.5% over a year.
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