AP News

Airgas plans to buy back up to $600M in stock

RADNOR, Pa. (AP) — Specialty gas distributor Airgas Inc. said Tuesday that it could buy back up to $600 million of its stock.

The company said purchases will depend on share price and other factors, and the program could be suspended at any time.

At Monday's closing price of $81.58, the program could buy as many as 7.35 million shares. Airgas has about 77.3 million shares outstanding.

The company, which sells gases to hospitals and industrial companies, also said Tuesday that quarterly earnings rose 4 percent, but it reduced its forecast of full-year earnings because of the weak economy and tight supplies of helium.

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