April 25, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:07 pm

CT gasmaker Praxair's 1Q sales, net soar

Danbury's Praxair Inc. lifted its first-quarter profits amid strong sales for its industrial gases at home and abroad. Praxair also declared a regular dividend.

In three months ended March 31, Praxair netted $419 million, or $1.38 a fully diluted share, up from $398 million, or $1.29 a share, netted the same period a year earlier.

First-quarter revenues rose 5 percent to $2.8 billion vs. $2.7 billion last year.

Praxair's sales growth was strongest in North America and Asia in the manufacturing, metals and energy markets, Chairman and CEO Steve Angel said Wednesday. Growth was slower in Europe and South America due to weaker economic conditions in those geographies.

For the second quarter of 2012, Praxair expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.40 to $1.45.

For the full year of 2012, Praxair expects sales in the range of $11.6 billion to $11.9 billion. The company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $5.75 to $5.90.

Praxair's board declared a quarterly dividend of 55 cents a share to be paid June 15 to stockholders on record by June 7.

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