Shares of industrial gases giant, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. ODA have gained around 18% over the last six months. The company has also outperformed its industry ‘s gain of roughly 16% over the same time frame. Air Products has a market cap of roughly $ 37.2 billion and average volume of shares is around 896.4K. The company has a long-term (three-to-five years) expected earnings per share (EPS) growth rate of roughly 14.1%, higher than the industry average of 10.2%. Let’s take a look at the factors that are driving this Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy) stock. What’s Driving APD? Upbeat outlook and strong growth prospects in the Air Products’ shares. Air Products expects earnings per share of $ 1.60- $ 1.70 for first-quarter fiscal 2018, up 9-16% from the year-ago quarter. For fiscal 2018, Air Products is expected earnings per share of $ 6.85- $ 7.05, up 9-12% year over year. Air Products has built a strong project backlog. These projects are anticipated to be accretive to earnings and cash flow over the next few years. Moreover, strategic investments in high-return projects, new business deals and acquisitions are expected to drive results in fiscal 2018. Air Products, in July, inked a long-term gas supply agreement with Huntsman Corporation HUN . Under the deal, Air Products will build, operate and operate a new steam methane reformer and cold box in Geismar, LA. Air Products facilities which will supply hydrogen, carbon monoxide and steam to Huntsman’s Geismar operations are expected to be onstream in Jan 2020. The new state-of-the-art facility will provide high reliability and improved energy efficiency. emissions. The company is also expanding its footprint in China. Air Products has a second long-term oxygen and nitrogen supply contract with a global leading materials supplier in Guangdong in South China. The move will help to strengthen its position in the strategic industrial base as well as this global customer relationship. Air Products and Yankuang Group also entered into a $ 3.5 billion coal-to-syngas production facility to be constructed in Yulin City, Shaanxi Province, China. Air Products also remains on track in delivering on cost-reduction programs, which is likely to support margins. The company is making a $ 600 million cost-cutting program and has already delivered more than $ 475 million of cost savings. Additionally, it plans to deliver the balance in next two-three years. Moreover, Air Products has a significant amount of cash to invest in. The company expects to have at least $ 8 billion to deploy in strategic, high-return opportunities. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Price and Consensus Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Price and Consensus | Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Quote Other Stocks to Consider Kronos Worldwide, Inc. KRO and Koppers Holdings Inc. KOP , both sporting at Zacks Rank # 2. You can see The complete list of today’s Zacks # 1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here . Kronos has an expected long-term earnings growth of 5%. Its shares are up roughly 114% over a year. Koppers has an expected long-term earnings growth of 18%. The stock has gained around 21% over a year. Zacks Editor-in-Chief Goes “All In” on This Stock Full disclosure, Kevin Matras now has more than one. He believes in its short-term profit potential and its prospects for more than double by 2019. Download it free >> Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD): Free Stock Analysis Report Kronos Worldwide Inc (KRO): Free Stock Analysis Report Koppers Holdings Inc. (KOP): Free Stock Analysis Report Huntsman Corporation (HUN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research
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