July 31, 2013 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE: APD) today issued the following statement in response to Pershing Square Capital Management’s confirmation of its investment in the Company:
Air Products maintains an active dialogue with and carefully considers the views of its shareholders. The Company has not been contacted by Pershing Square Capital Management but welcomes new investors and looks forward to engaging with Pershing Square to understand its views. In keeping with its long-standing practice, Air Products will thoroughly review constructive input from shareholders as part of its commitment to increasing shareholder value.
Air Products has taken significant, proactive steps in recent years to deliver earnings and operating cash flow growth in a very challenging economic environment. The Company noted that its 2013 total shareholder return of 21.6% through July 24 (the last trading day prior to announcing the adoption of a stockholder rights plan) is more than double that of its industrial gas peer group, and that on a one- and three-year basis total returns have exceeded that of its closest peer (Praxair).
As stated on earnings calls in April and July, Air Products continues to actively assess additional steps it can take to further improve operations and increase value to shareholders. That assessment is ongoing and has already resulted in additional cost-reduction initiatives in those regions and businesses facing the greatest challenges from slower market growth.
Recent actions taken by Air Products include:
- Streamlining its portfolio, including selling its European home care business, exiting the polyurethane intermediates (PUI) business and restructuring its market position in photovoltaics
- Expanding in key high-growth markets through strategic initiatives such as acquiring Indura, South America’s largest independent industrial gas company
- Reducing its cost base by over $150 million annually, with recently announced plans for additional cost reductions of approximately $60 million per year beginning in the fiscal 2013 fourth quarter
- Maintaining a regular program for returning capital to shareholders, including increasing its dividend for the 31st consecutive year and repurchasing $460 million of its shares in fiscal 2013 year to date
- Building a record $3 billion project backlog, which is over 80% on-site or pipeline business with long-term take-or-pay contract terms; these projects are expected to be immediately accretive to earnings and cash flow as they come on line over the next several years
Air Products remains focused on disciplined capital allocation, cost-effective project execution, driving greater productivity, and delivering on its cash priorities. The Company believes it has significant operating leverage in its existing assets, making it well positioned for accelerated earnings growth in an economic recovery.
About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) provides atmospheric, process and specialty gases; performance materials; equipment; and technology. For over 70 years, the company has enabled customers to become more productive, energy efficient and sustainable. More than 20,000 employees in over 50 countries supply innovative solutions to the energy, environment and emerging markets. These include semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, coal gasification, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. In fiscal 2012, Air Products had sales approaching $10 billion. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
1Industrial gas peer group includes Praxair, Linde, Air Liquide and Airgas.
Note: This release contains "forward-looking statements" within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about anticipated future business performance. These forward-looking statements are based on management's reasonable expectations and assumptions as of the date of this release. Actual performance and financial results may differ materially from projections and estimates expressed in the forward-looking statements because of many factors not anticipated by management, and outside the control of the Company including, without limitation, further deterioration in global or regional economic and business conditions; weakening demand for the Company’s products and services; future financial and operating performance of major customers; unanticipated contract terminations or customer cancellations or postponement of projects and sales; the impact of competitive products and pricing; interruption in ordinary sources of supply of raw materials; the success of productivity programs; significant fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currencies from that currently anticipated; the impact of changes in environmental, tax or other legislation and regulations in jurisdictions in which the Company and its affiliates operate; and other risk factors described in the Company's Form 10K for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2012. The Company disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in this document to reflect any change in the Company's assumptions, beliefs or expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances upon which any such forward-looking statements are based.
George Sard/David Reno
Sard Verbinnen & Co
Tel: (212) 687-8080