Praxair 4Q net income meets analysts' estimates

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Praxair's net income slipped 1 percent in the fourth quarter, pressured by unfavorable foreign currency exchange and soft economic conditions globally.

While the industrial gas company met Wall Street profit expectations and it beat predictions for revenue, its outlook for the current quarter and all of 2013 fell below most analyst predictions.

Praxair earned $414 million, or $1.38 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That's down from $420 million, or $1.38 per share, a year earlier.

There were fewer shares outstanding in the current quarter.

Praxair said Wednesday that its business is being weighed down by slowing growth and recession from Brazil and Europe, to China.

Revenue was basically flat at $2.8 billion as increased pricing and benefits from acquisitions were offset by unfavorable foreign currency translation. Wall Street forecast revenue of $2.78 billion.

Sales declined in Europe and South America, while in North America and Asia, there were rising sale. The surface technologies division reported a 3 percent rise in sales, when removing the impact of unfavorable foreign currency translation.

For the year, Praxair Inc. earned $1.69 billion, or $5.61 per share. In the previous year the Danbury, Conn., company earned $1.67 billion, or $5.45 per share.

Adjusted earnings were $5.57 per share.

Annual revenue edged down slightly to $11.22 billion from $11.25 billion. Revenue was 5 percent higher than the prior-year period when stripping out unfavorable foreign currency translation and other items.

Praxair anticipates 2013 earnings in a range of $5.85 to $6.10 per share with revenue of $12 billion. The company foresees first-quarter earnings of $1.35 to $1.40 per share.

Analysts had been looking for earnings of $6.14 per share this year on revenue of $11.95 billion. First-quarter earnings are predicted to be $1.47 per share.