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Air Products Falls as Profit, Forecast Trail Estimates

Air Products & Chemicals Inc., the world’s largest hydrogen producer, fell the most in five months after its fiscal second-quarter results and full-year profit forecast trailed analysts’ estimates.

Air Products dropped 4.5 percent to close at $84.72 in New York, the biggest percentage decline since Nov. 9.

Net income for the first three months of 2012 fell to $296 million, or $1.38 a share, from $304.3 million, or $1.39, a year earlier, the Allentown, Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement today. Excluding discontinued operations, costs from job cuts and a Spanish tax gain, profit was $1.31 a share, 2 cents less than the average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“Air Products remains impacted by sluggish recessionary conditions unfolding in Europe and overall lower year-over-year consumer electronics demand,” Michael J. Sison, a Cleveland-based analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, said today in a report. He rates the shares a buy.

Fiscal year 2012 earnings will be to $5.47 to $5.60 a share, excluding 30 cents a share from Air Products’ discontinued homecare business, because of “lower levels of business activity,” the company said. That compares with the company’s January outlook of $5.90 to $6.30 a share, and the $5.74 average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“While a portion of the downward full-year earnings guidance is due to the divestiture of the homecare business, which is a positive portfolio action, we sense operating results to date have come in weaker than expected and a second half pick up could be slower than expected,” Sison said in the note.

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