Praxair Reports Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter 2016 Results

Praxair Reports Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter 2016 Results

January 26, 2017

  • Full-year sales of $10.5 billion; EPS of $5.21; adjusted EPS of $5.48
  • Strong full-year operating cash flow of $2.8 billion, 26% of sales
  • Record free cash flow of $1.3 billion, returned to shareholders approximately $1 billion
  • Announced 5% dividend increase for 2017; 24th consecutive annual increase
  • Successfully executing strategy:
    • Won seven new onsite projects for customers under long-term contracts, including four in the U.S. Gulf Coast; Backlog $1.5 billion
    • Grew resilient end-markets to 27% of sales
    • Expanded carbon dioxide network through synergistic acquisitions and strengthened position in aerospace coatings with GE aviation JV
  • Fourth-quarter sales of $2.6 billion; EPS of $1.41
  • Full-year 2017 EPS guidance of $5.45 to $5.80, +2% to +9%, ex-FX

DANBURY, Conn., January 26, 2017 — Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) reported fourth-quarter net income and diluted earnings per share of $406 million and $1.41, respectively.

Sales in the fourth quarter were $2,644 million, 2% above the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation effects and higher cost pass through, sales were 2% higher than the prior-year quarter due to growth from acquisitions, largely a carbon dioxide business in Europe, and higher pricing. Overall volumes were comparable to the prior-year quarter. Volume growth from new on-site projects in Europe, South America and Asia was offset by lower base business volumes in North America, due primarily to weaker manufacturing and energy activity.

Operating profit in the fourth quarter was $599 million, 4% below the prior-year quarter. Excluding 1% headwind from foreign currency translation and a gain on asset sale in the prior year, operating profit was comparable with the prior-year quarter. Operating profit as a percentage of sales was 22.7% and EBITDA margin was 33.8%.

Fourth-quarter cash flow from operations was $726 million, 27% of sales. Capital expenditures were $409 million and the company paid $214 million of dividends.

For the full year of 2016, reported net income was $1,500 million and diluted earnings per share was $5.21. On an adjusted basis, full-year net income was $1,576 million and diluted earnings per share was $5.48.

Full-year sales were $10,534 million, 2% below 2015 due to the impacts of negative currency translation and lower cost pass-through, primarily natural gas. Underlying sales were 2% above prior year as growth from positive price, new project start-ups globally and acquisitions were partially offset by lower base volumes primarily in North America due to weaker upstream energy and manufacturing end-markets. Reported operating profit was $2,238 million, 4% below prior year. Adjusted operating profit of $2,338 million was 3% below 2015, excluding negative currency translation.

For full-year 2016, Praxair generated strong operating cash flow of $2,773 million, 26% of sales, and free cash flow of $1,308 million. The company invested $363 million in acquisitions, primarily a carbon dioxide business in Europe, paid dividends of $856 million, repurchased $89 million of stock, net of issuances and reduced net debt.

Commenting on the financial results and business outlook, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel said, “During 2016, Praxair employees demonstrated operational excellence by again delivering high-quality results despite facing another challenging global economic year. We gained traction on our core strategy and generated record operating cash flow of 26% of sales and free cash flow of $1.3 billion. As a result, we have announced an increase in our dividend for the 24th consecutive year.

“Expanding our presence in more resilient end-markets including food, beverage, healthcare and aerospace is a key component of our strategy. We completed our carbon dioxide acquisition in Europe which will strengthen our food and beverage growth platform and began the PST joint venture with GE on aircraft coatings which we expect will triple the size of that business in a few years. Another important element of our strategy is to execute our backlog and capitalize on the additional project opportunities driven by the low-cost feedstock advantage in the U.S. Gulf Coast. We won seven new large on-site projects during the year that brought our backlog to just over $1.5 billion, with 70% of that value supporting our extensive network in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“The year culminated in a non-binding agreement in principle to merge with Linde.  We view this as a compelling opportunity to create substantial value for stakeholders. 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.”

For full-year 2017, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $5.45 to $5.80, 2% to 9% growth excluding currency versus 2016. This guidance assumes a negative currency impact of approximately 3%. Full-year capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $1.4 billion and the effective tax rate is forecast to remain at approximately 28%.

For the first quarter of 2017, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.28 to $1.35. This EPS guidance assumes a negative currency impact of approximately 1%.

Following is additional detail on fourth-quarter 2016 results by segment.

In North America, fourth-quarter sales were $1,397 million, down 2% from the prior-year quarter. Sales growth from higher pricing and stronger volumes to metals, food and beverage and healthcare customers were more than offset by weaker volumes in energy and manufacturing end-markets. Operating profit was $359 million.

In Europe, fourth-quarter sales were $351 million, 9% above the prior-year quarter excluding negative currency translation. Acquisitions contributed 8% growth, primarily related to a carbon dioxide business largely serving the food and beverage end-market. Volume was up 1% primarily due to new project start-ups. Operating profit of $71 million grew 15% from the prior year, primarily due to lower cost, higher volumes and acquisitions.

In South America, fourth-quarter sales were $352 million, 18% above the prior-year quarter. Sales, excluding positive currency translation, grew 9% as a result of higher price, new on-site project volumes and higher sales to healthcare and food and beverage end-markets. Operating profit was $64 million.

Sales in Asia were $395 million in the quarter, 1% below the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation and a prior quarter divestiture, sales grew 5%. Operating profit of $78 million grew 8%, excluding currency translation.

Praxair Surface Technologies had fourth-quarter sales of $149 million as compared to $152 million in the prior-year quarter. Excluding negative currency translation and cost pass-through, sales were comparable to the prior-year period. Favorable price and higher aerospace volumes were offset by weaker sales primarily to the energy end-markets. Operating profit was $27 million.

Adjusted amounts are non-GAAP measures. Additionally, measures such as EBITDA, free cash flow, after-tax return on capital, return on equity and debt-to-capital are also non-GAAP measures. See the attachments for a summary of non-GAAP reconciliations and calculations of non-GAAP measures.

Attachments: Statements of Income, Balance Sheets, Statements of Cash Flows, Segment Information, Quarterly Financial Summary, Summary Non-GAAP Reconciliations and Appendix:  Non-GAAP Measures.

Praxair 4Q16 Earnings Release - Tables (120KB)  Statements of Income, Balance Sheets, Statements of Cash Flows, Segment Information, Quarterly Financial Summary, Summary Non-GAAP Reconciliations and Appendix:  Non-GAAP Measures. 
 Praxair 4Q16 Teleconference Slides (1.17MB)  Teleconference presentation on Praxair's 4Q16 results.

A teleconference about Praxair’s fourth-quarter results is being held this morning, January 26, 2017 at 11:00 am Eastern Time. The number is (631) 485-4849 – Conference ID: 48171391. The call is also available as a webcast live and on-demand at www.praxair.com/investors. Materials to be used in the teleconference are also available on the website.

Additional Information and Where to Find It 
Should Praxair, Inc. (“Praxair”) and Linde AG (“Linde”) proceed with the proposed business combination transaction, Praxair and Linde expect that a newly formed holding company (“New Holdco”) will file a Registration Statement on Form S-4 or Form F-4 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that will include (1) a proxy statement of Praxair that will also constitute a prospectus for New Holdco and (2) an offering prospectus of New Holdco to be used in connection with New Holdco’s offer to acquire Linde shares held by U.S. holders. When available, Praxair will mail the proxy statement/prospectus to its stockholders in connection with the vote to approve the merger of Praxair and a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Holdco, and New Holdco will distribute the offering prospectus to Linde shareholders in the United States in connection with New Holdco’s offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Linde. Should Praxair and Linde proceed with the proposed business combination transaction, Praxair and Linde also expect that New Holdco will file an offer document with the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt fuer Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) (“BaFin”). There can be no assurance that a binding definitive agreement will be reached between Praxair and Linde, and the consummation of any binding transaction will be subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND THE OFFER DOCUMENT REGARDING THE PROPOSED BUSINESS COMBINATION TRANSACTION AND PROPOSED OFFER IF AND WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. You may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement/prospectus (if and when it becomes available) and other related documents filed by Praxair, Linde and New Holdco with the SEC on the SEC’s Web site at www.sec.gov. The proxy statement/prospectus (if and when it becomes available) and other documents relating thereto may also be obtained for free by accessing Praxair’s Web site at www.praxair.com. Following approval by the BaFin, the offer document will be made available at BaFin’s Web site at www.bafin.de. The offer document (if and when it becomes available) and other documents relating thereto may also be obtained for free by accessing Linde’s Web site at www.linde.com

This document is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell shares of New Holdco, Praxair or Linde. The final terms and further provisions regarding the public offer will be disclosed in the offer document after the publication has been approved by the BaFin and in documents that will be filed with the SEC. No money, securities or other consideration is being solicited, and, if sent in response to the information contained herein, will not be accepted. The information contained herein should not be considered as a recommendation that any person should subscribe for or purchase any securities.

No offering of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable European and German regulations. The distribution of this document may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions and persons into whose possession any document or other information referred to herein come should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. Any failure to comply with these restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities will be made directly or indirectly, in or into any jurisdiction where to do so would be inconsistent with the laws of such jurisdiction.

Participants in Solicitation 
Praxair, Linde, New Holdco and their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Praxair’s stockholders in respect of the proposed business combination. Information regarding the persons who are, under the rules of the SEC, participants in the solicitation of the stockholders of Praxair in connection with the proposed transaction, including a description of their direct or indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the proxy statement/prospectus if and when it is filed with the SEC. Information regarding the directors and executive officers of Praxair is contained in Praxair’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and its Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A, dated March 18, 2016, which are filed with the SEC and can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.

Forward-looking Statements
This document contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management’s reasonable expectations and assumptions as of the date the statements are made but involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation: the expected timing and likelihood of the entry into or the completion of the contemplated business combination with Linde AG, including the timing, receipt and terms and conditions of any required governmental and regulatory approvals that could reduce anticipated benefits or cause the parties not to enter into, or to abandon the transaction; the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the proposed business combination agreement; the ability to successfully complete the proposed business combination and the exchange offer, including satisfying closing conditions; the success of the business following the proposed business combination; the ability to successfully integrate the Praxair and Linde businesses; the possibility that Praxair stockholders may not approve the proposed business combination agreement or that the requisite number of Linde shares may not be tendered in the public offer; the risk that the combined company may be unable to achieve expected synergies or that it may take longer or be more costly than expected to achieve those synergies; the performance of stock markets generally; developments in worldwide and national economies and other international events and circumstances; changes in foreign currencies and in interest rates; the cost and availability of electric power, natural gas and other raw materials; the ability to achieve price increases to offset cost increases; catastrophic events including natural disasters, epidemics and acts of war and terrorism; the ability to attract, hire, and retain qualified personnel; the impact of changes in financial accounting standards; the impact of changes in pension plan liabilities; the impact of tax, environmental, healthcare and other legislation and government regulation in jurisdictions in which the company operates; the cost and outcomes of investigations, litigation and regulatory proceedings; the impact of potential unusual or non-recurring items; continued timely development and market acceptance of new products and applications; the impact of competitive products and pricing; future financial and operating performance of major customers and industries served; the impact of information technology system failures, network disruptions and breaches in data security; and the effectiveness and speed of integrating new acquisitions into the business. These risks and uncertainties may cause actual future results or circumstances to differ materially from the GAAP or adjusted projections or estimates contained in the forward-looking statements. The company assumes no obligation to update or provide revisions to any forward-looking statement in response to changing circumstances. The above listed risks and uncertainties are further described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) in the company’s latest Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC which should be reviewed carefully. Please consider the company’s forward-looking statements in light of those risks.

About Praxair

Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 300 company with 2016 sales of $11 billion, is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others. More information about Praxair, Inc. is available at www.praxair.com.

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Contact
Media Contact:
Jason Stewart

Email: jason_stewart@praxair.com

Phone: 1-203-837-2448

Investor Relations Contact:
Juan Pelaez

Email: juan_pelaez@praxair.com

Phone: 1-203-837-2213