Praxair Tops Q4 Estimates, Boosts Dividend by 11%

Praxair, Inc. (PX) posted adjusted fourth quarter earnings of $1.25 per share on sales of $2.62 billion this morning, edging consensus Wall Street estimates. The industrial gas company also guided in line with analyst projections for 2011, and raised its for the 18th consecutive year.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.23 per share and sales of $2.58 billion for the quarter. Adjusted net income of $388 million topped last year’s Q4 profit by 14%, while sales rose 9%. For the full year, Praxair increased its adjusted net income by 18% and boosted sales by 13%.

The company expects earnings of $1.23 to $1.28 per share for the first quarter of 2011, in line with the $1.25 per share currently projected by analysts. For the full year, Praxair sees revenue around $11 billion and earnings of $5.25 to $5.40 per share, in line with Wall Street’s expectations for sales ($11.01 billion) and profit ($5.35 per share).

In a separate press release, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share, 11% better than last year’s quarterly rate. Praxair has now given its shareholders a raise for 18 consecutive years, handing out a double-digit increase 16 times during that span.

Shares of PX held flat in pre-market trading, sitting on yesterday’s closing price of $91.24, where they now carry a 2.19% dividend yield.

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