Air Products Profits Up Despite Need for 'Culture Change'

New CEO Seifi Ghasemi says he will continue to address areas like simplicity, speed of execution, and empowerment as he moves the company forward.

According to Reuters, industrial gas producer Air Products and Chemicals Inc reported a 9 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by higher sales by its merchant gases, and electronics and performance materials divisions.

The company's net profit rose to $314 million, or $1.46 per share, in the third quarter ended June 30 from $288.4 million, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose just over 3 percent to $2.64 billion.

Bloomberg added that the company's new chief executive officer said the industrial gases producer, targeted by activist investor Bill Ackman, needs to change its corporate culture and make better investment decisions.

Air Products will focus on projects that generate more cash flow and on improving returns on invested capital, Seifi Ghasemi said on an earnings conference call, his first public comments since joining the company July 1.

Ghasemi said workers need a greater sense of urgency. He plans to decentralize the Allentown, Pennsylvania-based company’s decision-making to improve its entrepreneurial capabilities. The stock rose to its highest since at least 1980.

“Simplicity, speed of execution and empowerment are some of the issues we will address,” he said.


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