Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) today issued the following statement in response to a letter sent by Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: APD) (“Air Products”) to Airgas stockholders:
Today’s letter from Air Products is just another attempt to facilitate its grossly inadequate offer and distract stockholder attention from what we believe to be obvious – that the offer fails to fairly compensate stockholders for the value inherent in Airgas and its future prospects.
Airgas’ performance continues to improve, as evidenced by the outstanding first quarter 2011 results announced yesterday. We achieved the second best earnings in the Company’s nearly 30-year history, including EPS well above our guidance range for the first quarter of fiscal 2011. As a result of this performance and the improved outlook, Airgas raised its full-year fiscal 2011 earnings guidance from a range of $2.95 to $3.05 to a new range of $3.15 to $3.30, representing 18% to 23% growth over fiscal year 2010 adjusted earnings. Further, the increasing momentum we are seeing reinforces our confidence in our calendar 2012 earnings goal of at least $4.20 per share, and with continued modest improvement in the economy, we could very well outperform this objective. These results are especially encouraging given that, in this early stage of the economic recovery, Airgas’ revenues have not yet recovered to pre-recession levels.
Similarly, in what we believe is a misleading attempt to make its grossly inadequate offer appear more attractive, Air Products is trying to frighten Airgas stockholders about market conditions. However, as evidenced by comments made on its third quarter earnings conference call, Air Products’ own economic outlook stands in stark contrast. During its call today, Paul Huck, Air Products’ Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said “We have a pretty good look on the economy going forward for us. And we still feel that it is playing out as we expected, which is for just good steady slow growth here in the US, starting to turn in Europe in the second half which we're starting to see.
We are confident that Airgas stockholders will recognize this letter for what it is – an attempt to deprive them of the value of their Company. The Airgas Board of Directors reiterates its recommendation that stockholders not tender their shares into the Air Products grossly inadequate offer.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are serving as financial advisors, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal counsel to Airgas and its Board of Directors.