Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Other Industries

Air Products & Chemicals Inc .(APD) Q2 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

APD Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD) Q2 2021 earnings call dated May. 10, 2021.

Corporate Participants:

Simon MooreVice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Relations and Sustainability

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

M. Scott CroccoExecutive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Kevin McCarthyVertical Research Partners — Analyst

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Mike HarrisonSeaport Global Securities — Analyst

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Duffy FischerBarclays — Analyst

John RobertsUBS — Analyst

Steve ByrneBank of America — Analyst

Marc BianchiCowen — Analyst

Stephen RichardsonEvercore ISI — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Good morning and welcome to the Air Products and Chemicals Second Quarter Earnings Release Conference Call. Today’s conference is being recorded at the request of Air Products. Please note that this presentation and the comments made on behalf of Air Products are subject to copyright by Air Products and all rights are reserved. Beginning today’s call is Mr. Simon Moore, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead sir.

Simon MooreVice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Relations and Sustainability

Thank you, Michelle. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Air Products Second Quarter 2021 Earnings Results Teleconference. This is Simon Moore, Vice President of Investor Relations, Corporate Relations, and Sustainability. I am pleased to be joined today by Seifi Ghasemi, our Chairman, President and CEO; Scott Crocco, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Sean Major, our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. After our comments, we will be pleased to take your questions. Our earnings release and the slides for this call are available on our website at airproducts.com.

This discussion contains forward-looking statements. Please refer to the forward-looking statement disclosure that can be found in our earnings release and on slide number 2. In addition, throughout today’s discussion, we will refer to various financial measures. Unless we specifically state otherwise, when we refer to earnings per share, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, the effective tax rate, and ROCE, both on a company-wide and segment basis, we are referring to our adjusted non-GAAP financial measures, adjusted earnings per share, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted effective tax rate and return on capital employed. Reconciliations of these measures to our most directly comparable GAAP financial measures can be found on our website in the relevant earnings release section.

Now I’m pleased to turn the call over to Seifi.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Simon, and good day to everyone. We thank you for taking time from your very busy schedule to be on our call today. To start, I want to acknowledge the united and extraordinary efforts of all of the talented, committed, and resilient people of Air Products around the world. They work hard every day to provide critical products and services to our customers. Our people working in solidarity and in a determined way, have may it possible for us to keep our 750 facilities around the world operating throughout this unprecedented crisis.

And I want to particularly thank our team, who worked through the very challenging severe winter storm in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Our people are the ones, who are making it possible for us to continue to deliver our near-term business results, while also pushing forward to develop and execute and operate major world-class projects to ensure our growth in the future. Our people are the ones who make our higher purpose real every day. That is to help humanity, move forward in a sustainable way and bringing people together to help solve energy and environmental challenges.

Now please turn to slide number 3, as always safety is the most important focus for all of us at Air Product. It is a moral responsibility to keep our people safe and our goal will always be zero accidents and zero incidents. Despite the challenging COVID-19 conditions, our team continues to focus on working safely, following our strict protocols to help protect themselves, our customers, and our communities. I also want to emphasize that sustainability is at the core of our DNA. And it drives our growth opportunities. We will be issuing our annual sustainability report later this month and I look forward to continuing this very important conversation with you.

Now please turn to a slide 4, 5 and 6. You can again see our goal, our management philosophy, and our Five Point Plan for moving forward. These are the guiding principles that we follow every day and this will continue to guide us in the future.

Now please turn to slide number 7. We remain committed to delivering superior financial performance and as I said, our people also know they are supporting a higher purpose in what they do every day. Our industrial gas expertise in many areas is critical to the success of dozens of industries and the scope and complexity of our megaprojects require talented people, the variety of skills, and backgrounds from different parts of the world to work together as one team. We are proud to bring people from diverse backgrounds and experiences together to collaborate and develop innovative solutions for some of the most challenging energy and environmental problems in the world. That is our higher purpose and it inspires our team and drives us forward every day.

Now please turn to slide number 8, which highlights our gasification projects. We are committed to our gasification strategy and are pursuing exciting projects around the world. We continue to see countries and large companies driving to convert low-value feedstock into high-value finished products. They have identified gasification as the best way to use abundant low-value resources like coal, pet coke, and refinery balance in a sustainable manner. And we are in the best position to work with them and help them deliver better, more sustainable solutions that benefit their economies and their people. Consistent with our strategy, we are pleased to have completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% share of our gasification technology joint ventures in China. Now that this team will be 100% part of Air Products, we are confident this will make us even more successful to pursue and win new larger gasification projects. We do expect to announce additional gasification projects in the future.

Now specifically, I would like to give you an update on the two large gasification projects which I have discussed during our last two earnings calls. First, our $12 billion acquisition of the Jazan gasifier and power plant from Saudi Aramco. We have continued to make significant progress, working with our partners and the lenders since our last update. The team has worked hard to bring the project to the final stage of project financing. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we expect this project to reach financial close in this fiscal year.

I also want to provide you an update on Lu’An. During our second quarter, we continue to recognize a reduced monthly fee under our interim agreement, while our customers’ plants were shut down. But I am very pleased to announce that our customers has requested the startup of our facility and we are proceeding with the commissioning of our plan. Since our equipment has been idle for several quarters, it will require a period of time to bring all four gasifiers back on. But for your information, as of this morning, the first gasifier was online making synthetic gas and supplying our customers. So we are encouraged by this development.

Now, please turn to slide number 9, which shows our EPS growth. As you can see, we have delivered greater than 10% annual EPS growth since 2014, despite the adversities presented by the recent external challenges. This is a testament to the hard work of our people and the stability of our business. This year again, we expect to achieve nearly 10% EPS growth in challenging conditions. I will discuss our expectation for this year in more detail later in the call.

Now please turn to slide number 10. A reminder we share our earnings and its growth with our investors. Both our EPS and dividend have grown double digits since 2014. While we continue to develop our exciting growth opportunities, we have significant cash flow that supports our substantial dividend that we have increased for the last 39 consecutive years.

And finally, slide number 11 shows our EBITDA margin, as always, my favorite slide, where it shows that the margin is up over 1,200 basis points since 2014. Margin is down slightly, primarily due to the significantly higher energy pass-through for natural gas, which increases our sale, but doesn’t impact profits. I’m very proud of our team, who delivered EBITDA margin over 37% for the quarter, despite the challenges of the pandemic and the winter storm affecting the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Now, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Scott Crocco, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer to provide a financial review. Scott?

M. Scott CroccoExecutive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Seifi. We continue to demonstrate the resilience of our company, our business and most importantly, our people. EPS increased despite the ongoing COVID impact, lower earnings from the Lu’An, and the extreme U.S. Gulf Coast weather during the quarter. Our business which is about half on-site, continued to deliver stable cash flow in spite of difficult conditions continuing around the world.

Now please turn to slide 12 for a brief discussion of our second quarter results. Sales topped $2.5 billion, up 13% compared to the prior year, driven by strong prices, higher energy pass-through and favorable currencies. Volume was flat as the additions of new plants, acquisitions and increased sale of equipment activities were offset by reduced Lu’An contributions, COVID-19 impacts and the winter storm. Prices were again up versus prior year, with improvement in all three regions. This is the 15th consecutive quarter of year-over-year pricing gains. Overall, prices were up 2% in total, which represents a 5% increase for the merchant business.

COVID-19 continued to negatively impact our business. We estimate the pandemic reduced overall sales by about 3% and EPS by about $0.10 to $0.15. The U.S. Gulf Coast winter storm disrupted our customers, interfered with our operations, and caused a sharp spike in local energy prices. However, we were able to mitigate much of the negative impact through operational actions and contractual pass-through to customers. Our people worked tirelessly overcoming these challenges during this time, restarting our plants quickly and restoring supply to our customers as they also recovered from the weather impacts. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to our people for a job well done.

The adverse weather in addition to having a modest negative impact on sales and profits also reduced our margin. Higher energy cost pass-through, primarily due to the storm decreased EBITDA margin by about 300 basis points this quarter. As a reminder, this contractual pass-through increases sales but not profits. EBITDA of $934 million improved 5% as favorable price, currency and equity affiliate income more than offset the negative impact of volume, the winter storm in the U.S., and higher development costs.

Operating income was 2% lower, while EBITDA was higher compared to last year, largely due to depreciation on new plants, particularly the PBF hydrogen plants that we acquired last year. ROCE was 320 basis points lower, primarily due to the increase in the denominator from the additional $5 billion of debt. Sequentially, sales were up 5%, primarily driven by 4% higher energy cost pass-through. Price was up 1%, but volume was down 1%, driven primarily by the Lunar New Year slowdown in Asia.

Now, please turn to slide 13. Our second quarter GAAP EPS was $2.13, which included two non-GAAP items, a $0.12 gain on an exchange with the joint venture partner in Europe, and an $0.08 loss from a facility closure. Excluding the non-GAAP items in both periods, our second quarter adjusted EPS of $2.08 was $0.04 above last year, despite the negative $0.10 to $0.15 impact of COVID-19 and the lower Lu’An contribution. Volume was unfavorable $0.19.

The negative impacts of COVID-19 and Lu’An more than offset gains from the PBF acquisition, as well as a number of small new plants, particularly in Asia.

Volume was flat in sales but unfavorable in the EPS due to business mix. It is important to recognize that as the 60% majority owner of the Lu’An joint venture, 100% of the negative impact from the Lu’An is included in this volume line because we consolidate the operating results. However, this is partially offset by the positive impact reflected in the non-controlling interest line, as the net income shared by our partner is also reduced. In other words, the negative $0.19 volume overstates the overall EPS impact to Air Products from Lu’An.

Price, net of variable costs contributed $0.09, demonstrating the value we deliver to customer and includes the higher energy costs associated with the winter storm. Cost was modestly unfavorable as we continue to add new resources for future growth and incur additional development costs. Currency and foreign exchange contributed $0.10, primarily due to appreciation of the Chinese RMB, Euro, British pound and the South Korean won relative to the U.S. dollar.

Equity affiliate income added $0.05 on strong underlying business results, while non-controlling interest was also favorable $0.04 on lower profits in our consolidated joint ventures, primarily Lu’An as I mentioned previously.

Interest expense was $0.06 unfavorable due to the costs associated with the additional $5 billion of debt. The remaining $0.04 includes a favorable $0.03 non-operating income impact and a favorable $0.01 impact from a lower tax rate. The effective tax rate of 20.2% was 30 basis points lower than last year. We still expect our effective tax rate to be around 20% to 21% in fiscal year ’21.

Now, please turn to slide 14. The stability of our business allows us to continue to generate strong cash flow. Over the last 12 months, we generated almost $2.6 billion of distributable cash flow or about $11.60 per share. From our EBITDA of almost $3.7 billion, we paid interest, taxes and maintenance capital. Note that our maintenance capex is a little higher than usual, driven in part by spending on our new global headquarters.

From the distributable cash flow, we paid over 45%, or almost $1.2 billion as dividends to our shareholders, and still have about $1.4 billion available for high-return industrial gas investments. This strong cash flow even in uncertain times enables us to continue to create shareholder value through increasing dividends and capital deployment. Slide number 15 provides additional details on our capital deployment.

As I said last quarter, Air Products continues to have substantial investment capacity remaining and available to deploy into high-return projects, consistent with our strategy. As you can see, we expect about $18 billion of investment capacity available over the five-year period from Fy ’18 through FY ’22. The $18 billion includes over $9 billion of cash and additional debt capacity available today, over $2 billion of investable cash flow between now and the end of FY ’22, and over $6 billion already spent. Additionally, we anticipate generating more cash and borrowing capacity as projects come on stream and contribute to the growth in our results. And some of the spending in our backlog extends beyond FY ’22. We expect to reframe this potential for you later this year.

We continue to focus on managing our debt balance to maintain our current targeted Aa2 rating. With a few smaller new projects signed and some coming on stream, our total project and M&A commitments remained about $12.7 billion, with about $10.5 billion remaining to spend on them. So you can see, we have already spent over 35%, and have already committed 95% of the capacity we show here.

Now, to begin the review of our business segment results, I’ll turn the call back over to Seifi.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Scott. Now, please turn to slide number 16 for our Asia results. Sales increased 6% compared to last year, as favorable currency and price more than offset richer volume. Pricing up in all countries added 1%, which represents a 3% increase for the merchant business. This was the 16th consecutive quarter of year-on-year price improvement.

Sequentially, price was also positive but rounded to zero. Volumes are down 2% as higher merchant volumes, I’d like to repeat, higher merchant volumes and new plants partially offset the impact of Lu’An being shut down. Merchant volume improvement in the region has been encouraging, particularly in light of the strong rebound following the expected Lunar New Year slowdown. But the recovery is not consistent across all product lines. Additionally, we brought onstream a number of new smaller plants that contributed to our results.

EBITDA was similar to last year as strong price and favorable [Phonetic] currency helped offset the impact of lower volumes. EBITDA margin of 46.4% was 330 basis points lower than last year, primarily due to lower volume-driven by Lu’An. Sales and profit were down sequentially, primarily due to Lunar New Year.

Now, I would like to turn the call back to Scott to talk about our Americas results. Scott?

M. Scott CroccoExecutive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Seifi. Please turn to slide 17 for a review of our Americas results. Sales increased 13% compared to last year, as strong price and significantly higher energy pass-through more than offset lower volumes. Volume was down 6%, primarily due to the continuing negative impact of COVID-19 and the winter storm in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Although there are signs of overall economic improvements in the U.S., the operating results for U.S. refineries remained low.

The winter storm this quarter further reduced the demand for hydrogen in the Gulf Coast, in addition to pressuring the merchant products. We have also seen some transitory contractual reduction in our hydrogen business recently, as some refineries are reconfiguring their operations to produce renewable fuels. However, such production will use hydrogen once the process is completed. The usage of hydrogen for renewable fuel per unit is in fact 4 times to 5 times more than conventional fuel.

Price was again better across most major product lines. The 3% increase for the region was equivalent to a 7% increase on the merchant business. This is the 11th consecutive quarter of year-on-year price improvement. Higher energy pass-through increased sales by 15%. The higher energy prices through the rest of the quarter were exacerbated by the record high prices during the winter storm, which much of this contractually passed through to customers.

EBITDA reached nearly $450 million, a 6% increase over last year as better price, higher equity affiliate income and the PBF acquisition more than offset the volume shortfall, including the adverse impact of the winter storm. EBITDA margin declined 310 basis points. Higher energy pass-through which increased sales but not profits, reduced margin by 650 basis points. In other words, margins were up over 300 basis points, excluding the energy cost pass-through impact.

Compared to last quarter, Americas volumes increased 2% following the holiday season and continued a gradual COVID recovery. Price also improved 1%. EBITDA improved double-digit sequentially, supported by improved volume, lower maintenance and higher equity affiliate income. EBITDA margin was almost flat sequentially, which included a negative 450 basis point impact from higher energy pass-through.

Now, I’d like to turn the call back over to Simon to discuss our other statements. Simon?

Simon MooreVice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Relations and Sustainability

Thank you, Scott. Now, please turn to slide 18 for a review of our Europe, Middle East and Africa region results. Our EMEA team delivered another set of outstanding results this quarter, sales and EBITDA both improved nearly 20% versus last year. Volume plus price was up 7%, as volume grew 5%, principally due to acquisitions and higher on-site volumes, which more than overcame the adverse impact of COVID-19, predominantly in our packaged gas business.

Price increased for the 13th consecutive quarter and was higher across most major product lines and subregions. The 2% price gain for the region corresponds to a 3% improvement for the merchant business. Currencies were favorable 9%, primarily due to the strong euro and British pound, EBITDA jumped 17% to nearly $220 million, supported by favorable price, volume, currencies and equity affiliate income.

EBITDA margin dipped 50 basis points, primarily due to a negative 100 basis point impact from higher energy cost pass-through. EBITDA was down 2% compared to last quarter, primarily due to seasonally lower equity affiliate income, while margin decreased 220 basis points, including a 70 basis point negative impact from higher energy cost pass-through.

Now, please turn to slide 19, global gases, which includes our non-LNG sale of equipment businesses as well as central costs. Sales increased due to higher sale of equipment project activity, but profit was lower due to business mix and higher product development spending.

Please turn to slide 20, Corporate, which includes LNG and other businesses, as well as our corporate costs. Sales were higher this quarter driven by increased project activities, as we continue to execute multiple large LNG and other projects. Profit dipped slightly on higher corporate costs.

Now to provide some additional thoughts, I’ll turn the call back over to Seifi.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Simon. Now, please go to slide number 21. Unfortunately, as everybody knows, the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. With wider spread vaccination efforts, some regions have been able to reduce their spread of the virus, while others are experiencing an increase in number of cases. Against this backdrop, we take pride in our ability to deliver consistent earnings and cash flow.

Our on-site business, roughly half of our total sales remained stable and our price continued to be strong. We have also seen signs of improvement in merchant volumes. As we look forward, although we still see uncertainties ahead, our confidence in major economies around the world is growing, particularly in light of the increasing pace of vaccination. Therefore, we have resumed providing EPS guidance this quarter.

As I mentioned earlier, Lu’An has asked us to restart our facilities, and we expect Jazan to close during this fiscal year. However, there remains some uncertainty to the exact timing of these events, therefore, we are providing our EPS and capex guidance excluding Jazan and Lu’An restart. In other words, the restart of Lu’An and the financial close of Jazan, if they happen within this fiscal year, they will be accretive to the guidance that I’m giving you.

Our quarter — for quarter three of fiscal year 2021, our earning per share guidance is $2.30 and $2.40 per share, which is up 14% to 19% over last year. And the guidance for our fiscal year 2021 is $8.95 to $9.10, up 7% to 9% over last year. We see our capex at approximately $2.5 billion for this year, again excluding Jazan. Meanwhile, we continue to execute our other projects, bringing them onstream and finalizing agreements with our customers. We are committed to the capital deployment strategy and to growing our pipeline of our projects.

Please turn to slide number 22. As always, the success of our strategy is rooted in the great team we have at Air Products. We believe strongly that our only sustainable long-term competitive advantage is the degree of commitment and motivation of our people, the people who work hard every day to bring our strategy to life. I am very proud to be working with this team.

Our deep commitment to sustainability creates exciting growth opportunities driven by the energy transition to a lower carbon world. Our gasification, carbon capture and hydrogen growth platforms are at the core of this transition. In the past five years, our differentiated strategy and our core competencies have positioned Air Products to lead across these areas.

Now, at this time, we are very pleased to answer any of your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our first question today will be from Kevin McCarthy with Vertical Research Partners. Please go ahead.

Kevin McCarthyVertical Research Partners — Analyst

Good morning. Seifi, wanted to get your updated thoughts on capital allocation. If you were to look out over the medium to longer-term, let’s say five years, how would you expect to allocate capital among three buckets? The first will be green hydrogen, the second gasification and the third traditional projects such as ASUs and SMRs.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, good morning, Kevin. Thank you for your question. I see that we are focused on gasification, carbon capture and hydrogen, and obviously, our underlying standard business. We think that our underlying business will require investment of approximately $500 million to $700 million, $800 million with all of these smaller plants and generators and all of that to grow with overall economy in the world.

Then in terms of the other three opportunities, in terms of capital allocation, I don’t want to kind of prefer one over the other because it depends different parts of the world. Obviously, we are not going to spend any money on significant gasification project in some of the more developed coal gasification in, for example, Europe or the U.S., but there will be coal gasification projects in India and Indonesia and other — and China.

And carbon capture is going to require a lot of capital and that will be very, very prevalent in — I foresee in Europe and in the United States, specifically. And then obviously, green hydrogen — green hydrogen and blue hydrogen, it will be all over the world. So I would, I would have a balance with them, but since these are all megaprojects, for a year or two, one of them might be higher than the other one, but in the course of five to 10 years, if you take all of the capital allocation, I think that most of the capital will go to carbon capture, then hydrogen and then gasification.

Kevin McCarthyVertical Research Partners — Analyst

Thank you for that. And then…

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay, Kevin?

Kevin McCarthyVertical Research Partners — Analyst

Yes. Thank you. And secondly, if I may Seifi, you mentioned that some of your hydrogen customers are reconfiguring to produce renewable fuels. How much of that do you expect to occur and, and what is the net benefit? It sounds like the reconfigured refineries would consume a lot more hydrogen, so just trying to get a sense of what that benefit could be to you over time?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

The benefit could actually, be very positive. The only caveat over here is that there is a lot of talk about this thing. There is a lot of interest in it. But I’m a conservative person, I want to wait and see how many of these projects actually do material up.

But as I think Scott mentioned when he will starting about the Americas, the intensity of hydrogen requirement per barrel of renewable diesel versus per barrel of ordinary diesel is almost 4 times to 5 times. So if these refineries in a major way convert to renewable diesel, the demand for hydrogen will actually go up. But again, I just don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because there is a lot of talk but we’ll see how many of these projects will actually materialize.

Kevin McCarthyVertical Research Partners — Analyst

Thank you so much.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you very much, Kevin.

Operator

And next, we will move to David Begleiter with Deutsche Bank.

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Thank you. Good morning.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, David. How are you?

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

I’m well. Thank you. Seifi, just on Jazan, once the financing is complete, should the project start-up immediately? And also, has your expected return on the project come down during the — this period of discussion and negotiation?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You’re talking about Jazan?

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Yes.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. First of all, if I may answer the second part of your question, we had given some general guidance about the profitability of this project to the investors almost two years ago. During the period of the negotiations and so on, that expectation is still correct. Secondly, the first part of your question, once we close on this thing, the day we close, the next day we will get the — our fixed fee and therefore, it will be accretive to our EPS.

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Very good.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, David.

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

And just on Lu’An, do you expect the same level of earnings post this current restart as you have prior to the project going down, back I think last June?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

No. I think we explained to you that when we renegotiated the contract, we renegotiated that we have a structure for, if the plant is down, but we get paid. We have a structure for when the plant is up and running for a period of time and then we get back to full payment for — per the original contract. So there is kind of three levels.

David BegleiterDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, David.

Operator

And we’ll move onto Vincent Andrews with Morgan Stanley.

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Thank you, and good morning.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Vincent.

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

I’m just wondering — I’m very well. Thank you. I hope the same with you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

You mentioned that the purchase of the other 50% of the Chinese JV that you didn’t own, you made it sound like that was going to be sort of a trigger that would lead to the announcement of other gasification projects. I’m just curious if you could elaborate on sort of what is the significance of owning that other 50% that therefore maybe allows you to do some other projects?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Because then we don’t have to consult with somebody else in terms of what we do and we don’t do, you know, because then you have 50%, 50% joint venture, you have to have a consensus when you’re going through different projects in different parts of the world and different people have different preferences. But then it is 100% owned, then we can decide on our own what we want to do. Therefore, I think that is why I said it facilitate us in terms of getting additional projects.

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Okay. And if I could also ask you on the guidance for the back half of the year, maybe specific to the Americas, are you assuming any meaningful improvement for your refinery customers and/or for helium volumes?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Not particularly, no, for neither one. We are assuming that things will be — approximately, there might be some improvement, but that is not the driver for the forecast. We are taking a conservative approach there.

Vincent AndrewsMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Very good. Thank you very much.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And we’ll move onto Jeff Zekauskas with JPMorgan.

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

Hi. Good morning.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Jeff.

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

I was hoping you could clarify some of the dynamics in the Americas business. There was some kind of penalty from the storm and there was some order of magnitude benefit from the acquisitions that you’ve made. If you look at the volume exclusive of the storm and the acquisition, what might it have been during the quarter?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

The volumes would have been down.

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

Yes, I know that.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You’re referring to our hydrogen business, Jeff, right?

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

No. I’m referring to the consolidated volumes in the Americas, that is what would they have been exclusive of acquisitions and exclusive of the storm?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

I think our merchant business, I mean our LOX/LIN business would have been kind of flat, and then our hydrogen business would have been lower because as you know, we have some refineries like the shell refineries, which was a customer shut down, and then out of the 100% volume, some of the volume on the pipeline is not contracted long term. It is a spot sale and the refineries considering their level of operation being low, they have cut back on their spot sales, so the hydrogen volumes would have been lower, especially on the Gulf Coast.

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

Yeah. The equity income in that division was $32 million in the quarter, and then maybe it was up $10 million year-over-year and $10 million sequentially. Why was the equity income so high, and is that an unusual number?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

The equity income is so high, Jeff, because I explained that last time because our equity affiliate in Americas is Mexico, and Mexico, unfortunately, because of COVID, the demand for oxygen was phenomenal, just the way it is right now in India and the way it is for — in Brazil. Quite frankly, that is why some of our competitors are having very good results because of that. It’s a very unfortunate situation. But I mentioned last quarter that if you’re a medical business right now, Mexico, Brazil, India will make you a lot of money. And we saw that benefit in our joint venture in Mexico.

Jeff ZekauskasJPMorgan — Analyst

Okay, good. Thank you so much.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And we’ll move on to Bob Koort with Goldman Sachs.

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Yes. Good morning. This is Mike Harris, actually, sitting in for Bob.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Mike.

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

If we go to your — hey, good morning, your favorite slide number 11. I’ve noticed that the EBITDA margins appear to have declined like three consecutive quarters and you seem to be gaining price. So just kind of trying to reconcile how you gaining price, losing margins, so how should I think about the margin going forward?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think you should — you are on the very right track, and let’s look at the causes. Number one, the margin comes down when Lu’An is shut down because Lu’An is a very, very high margin business. So that Lu’An by itself has a significant effect when it is down. The second thing is that when natural gas prices go up, we end up showing more sales because we are buying natural gas and then the customer reimburses us for that. But it shows us higher sales but it doesn’t affect the profit line. So if natural gas — every dollar of natural gas going up, affects our sales by $350 million in a year. So if natural gas prices continue to go up, then our margins look — for our hydrogen business looks lower because the profit doesn’t change but the sales go up. So those are the two effects that you need to think about. So as we go forward if natural gas prices come back to the levels they were and if Lu’An starts up, then you’re going to see our margins go up. So I still feel very good about our margins. We haven’t seen a fundamental change in the profitability of our business.

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Okay, thanks for the color. And just as a follow-up…

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Looking at Lu’An, when we think about commissioning, is that a process that you think about in terms of weeks or months? And once that facility is back online, is there some type of break-in period that they have to run at reduced rates, or can they ramp that facility up fairly quick?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

So the thing is that with the plant that has been shut down, then you’ve started up, you never know which pump works, which pump doesn’t work. But as I mentioned in my comment as of this morning, we do have one of the gasifiers online supplying their product to our customers. And I’m hoping that the other three will come on stream in the next few months. We don’t want to be too specific because we can start up and one pump that can have a failure and then you have to re-commission or change the pump and all of that. But overall, it’s not going to take years. It’s going to be a relatively short period of time. Okay?

Mike HarrisGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And next, we’ll hear from John McNulty with BMO Capital Markets.

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Yeah. Thanks for taking my question. Hey, Seifi.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, John. How are doing these days?

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Good. Good, yeah. And hopefully, you are as well. So I guess a little bit of a follow-up on Lu’An. This year has obviously been a lumpy year with it — with the kind of not getting paid full out like the contract being rejiggered a little bit while it was down. I guess is there a way to think about how the total payout in fiscal ’21 versus fiscal ’22 will look out in terms of overall earnings contribution?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Fiscal ’21 which is the one we are in right now versus fiscal ’22, right, which is next year?

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Yep.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

For this year, I mean we haven’t made a lot of money in Lu’An because the plant has been shut down for six months and now we are starting it up. So I think that fiscal year ’22 will be significantly better than ’21 barring any plant breakdown or anything.

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Okay. So it should be back to kind of the $0.25 contribution or something in that range. Is that the right way to think about it?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I don’t want to confirm that because it depends on how much we run and all of that. But John, the biggest issue over here was the fact that people thought that gasification is that the plant will be shut down forever. That — we always said, that’s not the case. We always said that this is due to change in management, that’s all and that has proven to be correct. So the fact is that the customer wants the plants running. The plant is viable. It is going to produce product. And now how much is our profitability in ’22, I’m sure it’s better than ’21, but it also depends on how well we run the plant and how many times we can keep the gasifiers on the stream and all of that. So I don’t want to give you a definite prediction. Obviously, we will give you a much more accurate prediction in October when we give you our guidance for 2022.

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Got it, fair enough. And then maybe just as a follow-up. You spoke to merchant business starting to pick up and seeing signs of the macro kind of having some pull there. Can you speak to what that means for bidding activity around either the gasification side or some of the traditional on-site business? So you’re starting to see increases in bidding activity, or demand and interest from kind of the larger-scale customers at this point? And how should we think about that in terms of filling up the backlog and contract announcement as we look through the rest of this year?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

John, the demand for those kind of projects never slowed down during the COVID. It continued to be very strong. It continues to be very strong. And we are optimistic about — very optimistic about the deployments, targets, as Scott mentioned that we have almost 95% delivered two years in advance, and we are very bullish on that. We see a lot of very large projects that we are working on, and I think those will bear fruit as we go forward.

John McNultyBMO Capital Markets — Analyst

Got it. Thanks very much for the color.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, John.

Operator

And we’ll move onto Mike Harrison with Seaport Global Securities.

Mike HarrisonSeaport Global Securities — Analyst

Hi. Good morning.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Mike. How are you?

Mike HarrisonSeaport Global Securities — Analyst

Doing well. Thanks, Seifi. Wanted to ask you about the Asia business. It sounds like you saw a strong recovery following the typical Lunar New Year shutdowns. But I believe you said that markets are recovering at different rates or maybe that the recovery has been a little bit uneven. So can you give us a little bit more color on what you saw in Asia coming out of Lunar New Year?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

That’s a very good question, actually. In that what I said was that we saw a very strong recovery in China and other places after the Lunar New Year. The thing that I said is that the recovery is not even across all product lines. That specifically means that our LOX/LIN business is coming on strong, our Oregon business is coming as strong, but that is not necessarily true about our helium business in that part of the world. And that is because some of our — because we have — as you know, we are holding very firm to our pricing strategy, and as a result, we might be losing some market share there.

Mike HarrisonSeaport Global Securities — Analyst

All right. And then within the electronics market, it seems like that is set up to see very strong demand over the next couple of years. But as I look at the on-site facilities that you’re going to be starting up in the coming years, really just looks like the Samsung plants in Korea. Can you talk about your activity within the electronics market? And whether there are some additional on-site opportunities that maybe aren’t listed there on that slide, or that you plan to book over the coming months or years?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

The demand for electronics and electronics on-site business for high purity nitrogen is very strong. We are participating in that. We have won a lot of contracts. Some of that we cannot announce because the customer doesn’t want to announce it because they want to keep their plants kind of confidential. But we are not losing any market share in that area. We have proprietary products, which are actually very competitive, and we remain very bullish in that area.

Mike HarrisonSeaport Global Securities — Analyst

All right. Thank you very much.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And next, we’ll hear from Mike Sison with Wells Fargo.

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Hey, guys, good morning.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi. Good morning. How are you?

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Good. I was looking at your capital deployment scorecard going back a couple of years and that remaining to be spent is, just goes up every year, which is good which shows that you’re growing the business obviously. But what do you think we start to see that come down, meaning that you have more meaningful projects coming in? And do you envision that it actually gets to zero at some point?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You’re talking about our capital expenditure?

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Yeah, the remaining to be spent line item.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

That is going to grow, my friend. It’s not going to come down. We are going to continue to invest heavily for the next 10 years, 15 years because the opportunities are huge, our financial capacity is there and we are not going to be buying shares, we will maintain our dividend and increase it. But we are not going to waste our money buying shares. We are going to invest in hydrogen projects which there are plenty of them for us. And what we will do is that, in a few months, we are going to give you a plan for the next five years, the same that we did in 2018. In 2018, we said between $18 billion and $23 million, we will spend about $15 billion. We are way ahead of that, and in a few months, we will give you a plan for 2020 — a 10-year plan, 2018 to 2028. So don’t expect — yeah. Go ahead.

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Got it. And then a quick follow-up — yeah. No, I understand. Just I — for 2022, I know it’s early to give specific guidance. But do you think investors should be adding Jazan and Lu’An back to their 2022 outlook, particularly as we look to value the company going forward?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, if everything goes fine in Lu’An, we are totally successful in bringing Lu’An online and we sign all of the final contracts and finish the financing, 2022 will be a good year because then Jazan and Lu’An will be there compared to this year.

Mike SisonWells Fargo — Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

That’s not a bad assumption. Thank you.

Operator

And we’ll move on to Duffy Fischer with Barclays.

Duffy FischerBarclays — Analyst

Yes. Good morning, fellas.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Duffy FischerBarclays — Analyst

Just a question. Last weekend, Wall Street Journal had an article talking about delays at the greater NEOM project, and I get that your project can be separate from the city itself. But just wanted to see if you guys are seeing any of those types of delays as you’re moving forward kind of where are you with purchasing long lead time equipment? And when will we start to see that capital from NEOM actually rolling through your cash flow and your balance sheet?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

First of all, I don’t want to make any comment about here on the prior [Phonetic] NEOM project because I don’t know enough about it, and that’s not something that we are involved.

One thing that I can confirm is that our project has nothing to do with the city. Whether the city is delayed or built or not, it doesn’t affect our project at all. We are self-contained. We are going to prepare — desalinating our own water. We are going to produce our own power and so we are totally self-contained. So that — the, any kind of — any issues with the city will not affect our project. In terms of our project, we have placed orders for some of the long-term items and we are making progress. And in terms of cash flow, it is already we are spending money on that project right now.

Duffy FischerBarclays — Analyst

Great. Thanks. And then maybe if we could jump to helium. I know there’s notionally some new capacity coming online, but it seems like demand for helium is picking up strongly. Can you walk us through how you would view kind of the next one, two, three years just supply-demand in the helium market globally?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, on that one, I think the, you know, the number of sources of helium, and all of that. The biggest question about supply-demand in helium is not a secret. It is what is going to happen to the project that Russia is doing, the so-called Amur project. That project will produce a lot of helium than it is online. The issue is, when is it going to be online, is it going to be — end of 2021, 2022, 2023? At what rate that is in Siberia, and all of that? So I don’t want to make any predictions on that. But that is the only other major project that is underway.

Duffy FischerBarclays — Analyst

Great. Thank you, guys.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And next, we’ll hear from John Roberts with UBS.

John RobertsUBS — Analyst

Thank you. You mentioned some temporary hydrogen headwinds as those refiners reconfigure to biodiesel. Do the hydrogen contracts allow for suspension of volume if they have extended downtime to reconfigure?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, John. No, it does not allow for that. Our contracts are take or pay, so while people contemplate different things, that doesn’t affect our contract structure.

John RobertsUBS — Analyst

Okay. And then could you give us a very short quick update on the other three gasification projects Utah, Dubai [Phonetic], and Indonesia?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

They are on schedule, on the plan.

John RobertsUBS — Analyst

Okay, that’s good. Okay. Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. And we’ll move on to Steve Byrne with Bank of America.

Steve ByrneBank of America — Analyst

Yes. Thank you. Seifi, I found your response to Kevin’s capital allocation question, interesting where you highlighted carbon capture as being potentially the largest bucket. And I wanted to just drill into that a little bit. Would you say that is potentially the largest because of the interest in it as from customers that see it as a way to meet some carbon reduction targets in a relatively inexpensive way or would you say that you have something to bring that’s really somewhat differentiated in this — in the capacity of either your technology or your access to these CO2 rich streams coming out of the SMRs that you could target, and just anything that you might have to add on that with a perspective of any limitations to where you can sequester the CO2?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, thank you for the question, and also thank you for providing the answer, because you kind of answered the question by saying that we are in a unique position. We are operating the largest carbon capture facility in the world right now operational. We have been running it for several years. We captured 1 million ton a year of CO2 from the SMRs that we have in Port Arthur. So we know how to do this thing.

Secondly, is that we have many, many SMR that put out CO2, therefore the CO2 is there that can be captured. The other thing is the fact that there is significant focus on this because by capturing CO2, you can make blue hydrogen, and therefore the transition to the hydrogen economy can happen very quickly using hydrocarbons. And a lot of people are very interested in that. People who make hydrocarbons are very interested in finding a way to produce hydrogen, capture the carbon, and say, here’s the hydrogen which is almost is not as good as green hydrogen, but it is hydrogen with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

So that is why I am — I think that there will be a lot of big investments in that area. And we are very well positioned with our core competency, with the plants that we have around the world to be a major player on that, and we intend to be a major player on that. Our goal is very simple, gasification we have put ourselves in a position that we are the major — the leading company for gasification. Any gasification project, the project in the world probably Air Products will do that. We plan to be the leader in blue hydrogen, which means CO2 capture and we plan to be the leader in green hydrogen, which you already are with the plant that we are building in NEOM.

Steve ByrneBank of America — Analyst

And Seifi, just one on your outlook for the fuel cell buses. We talked about this tour of U.S. cities, and I just wanted to get your view on whether that opportunity is potentially more attractive in the U.S. because the cities can start with gray hydrogen that’s relatively less expensive than if it were sourced from natural gas in Europe at 3 times the price. Is it the attraction starting gray or do you see longer-term, the fuel cell buses in regions like Europe is potentially larger and that green hydrogen could be more comparably cost and price relative to gray?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, you’re raising an excellent question. The issue is that in terms of the economics, you would expect that the U.S. will be ahead of Europe because of the natural gas that you can convert and all of that, that you can capture the carbon and have blue hydrogen and all of that. But then there is the fundamental element of the government interest. And what we are finding out is that the governments in Europe are a lot more committed to green hydrogen. They are really committed to green hydrogen, not blue. They want green. And as a result, I think our hydrogen business — our green hydrogen business, the biggest potential will be in Europe rather than in the U.S., or any other parts of the world. That’s the way it is developing right now.

But things can change, government policies can change, I mean, if in the United States, all of their states or at least the majority of their states adopt the LCFS plan that California has put in place, then you’re going to see a boom in terms of hydrogen in the U.S. But I don’t know whether that happens or if that happens. But in Europe, we see that. And then in Japan, they are going with the idea of taking blue ammonia and putting it in their power plants to reduce their carbon footprint. So the different parts of the world are doing different things, but what you are delineating is a very logical economic thing. But on top of that, you have to put the layer of where the government pressure is. And I think for a project like NEOM, the biggest potential market will probably be Europe.

Steve ByrneBank of America — Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And next, we’ll hear from Marc Bianchi with Cowen.

Marc BianchiCowen — Analyst

Thank you. First question relates to the guidance. Just wanted to confirm how you’re handling the COVID impact, the $0.10 to $0.15 that you cited for the past two quarters for the remainder of the year?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we are expecting that the COVID impact would be a little bit less in the U.S. because of the vaccination and improvement in Europe because of the vaccination, and then in China and the rest of Asia that the COVID impact is not as significant anyway. So we have kind of considered some improvement because of COVID impact, but still having in mind that there will be some.

Marc BianchiCowen — Analyst

Yeah. Great. Thanks for that. And then I wanted to follow up on the carbon capture. It would appear that you responded to the earlier question discussing blue hydrogen, but it would appear there is quite an opportunity for stacking some of these carbon capture credits for renewable diesel and obviously, there is a higher hydrogen content there that you mentioned. Why aren’t we seeing that occur right now? You mentioned there’s a lot of talk about projects, but maybe things aren’t happening. I’m curious what bottlenecks might exist? And if that involves perhaps some takeaway capacity for CO2 that maybe needs to be built by someone else before those can move forward?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, let me just focus on making sure I understood your question correctly. You’re saying how come these renewable diesel projects are not happening faster? I think the main reason is that right now, the only place that it makes sense to sell renewable diesel and still be profitable is in California. So the people — I mean, Valero, when they are producing this thing in Texas, they don’t sell it in Texas. They sell it in California because if they sell it in Texas, they lose money because just the cost of the raw material for making renewable diesel is probably $2.5, $3 a gallon.

So — and so right now, everybody is making things go to California and sell it in California. And therefore people are sitting down and saying, how many — how much capacity, the scale California have. Because if you add all of these renewable diesels in four or five years, 100% of the diesel sold in California will be renewable, then what do you do? So people need to get themselves comfortable that this policy that California has will be picked up by Oregon and Colorado and New York and all of that, which I think it will be. But until it is done, I think you are not going to see a significant growth on this thing because people are going to say, well, how I’m going to — where I’m going to sell it?

Marc BianchiCowen — Analyst

And just following on to the other part of the question related to carbon capture opportunity. Is there a bit of a chicken and egg problem there where the infrastructure might not be in place to take the captured carbon to wherever it is going to be stored or sequestered? And how do you see the market sorting that out?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You are very right because when people talk about capturing carbon, we can capture carbon for you anywhere there is a plant, which puts our CO2 out of an SMR or a chemical unit, we know how to capture that. That’s the easy part. The question is that, what do you do once you have captured it? You need to have a place to sequester it. And the biggest question is that where is it possible to sequester it? Where is it possible that there is enough power space to do that? That is the biggest — that is the major question that will come into play in terms of how many of these projects can you do, where can they be done, and all of that.

Marc BianchiCowen — Analyst

Thank you very much, Seifi.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, thank you.

Operator

We’ll move on to Stephen Richardson with Evercore ISI.

Stephen RichardsonEvercore ISI — Analyst

Hi. Good morning. Just want to come back quickly on Lu’An, if you might. I just want to confirm what we’re hearing this morning, which is that when you’re fully through commissioning and when you’re running the four gasifiers, and appreciate this project run at a very, very high utilization rate historically. But Seifi, what you’re saying that whenever you hit that run rate will the contribution be substantially similar from Lu’An as what it’s been historically, meaning there hasn’t been any change to the commercial terms or the economics from Air Products perspective?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

That is the question that I tried to answer before that when we renegotiated or reconsidered the arrangements with Lu’An, I don’t want to go through all of the details because the customer doesn’t want us to disclose that. We said that we have come up with three stages. One is when the plant is shut down, what do we get? The second thing is that when the plant is up onstream, what do we get for a certain period of time, and then we go back to the original contract. So I do not want to represent to you that if we come onstream 100% in 2022, we will make as much money, the $0.25 as we did in 2019. It will be less than that. How much less than that? I cannot disclose with you. But there is a period of time where we have agreed to reduce our fee to help the customer, and then we will — but then, the overall return on the project is still as good, if not better because the customer has agreed to extend the term of the contract, which means that our retail capital for the length of the contract is still intact. Okay?

Stephen RichardsonEvercore ISI — Analyst

Thank you. Yeah, that’s clear. Thank you. And one follow-up, Seifi, if I may. I mean, you’ve been through obviously, a lot of conversations over the last two to three quarters, both on Jazan and Lu’An, and it’s clearly taken a lot of the markets’ focus. I was wondering if you could maybe just talk a little bit about lessons learned about how you’ll talk about projects going forward, the way in which you’re thinking about projects in the backlog, and kind of the best way to communicate these variabilities which will come up from time-to-time with the market and your investors going forward?

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, the one lesson that I have learned all my life, it’s not just — is that you always need to tell the people the truth at the time that you are talking to them. And therefore, maybe we overdid it, maybe it was — could have been handled differently, but I believe we handled [Indecipherable]. In November of 2020, I was very concerned about Lu’An, and I was very concerned about Jazan, and I told the investors. Now, I did explain to them, put the caveat in them that some people are going to listen to us that, look, I don’t think these — this is what I know right now, but this doesn’t mean the stand of the world, this doesn’t mean that gas — it’s the end of gasification. This doesn’t mean that we are not going to do Jazan. But some people took it like that and our stock got hit by $50.

But quite honestly, if I had to do it again, I would always tell the investors what we know at the time that we’re talking to you and we should be transparent. But I think maybe we can do a better job — we can always do a better job. Maybe we can do a better job of putting it in the right context, not to kind of create panic. But one other thing that I’m sure the investors appreciate is that as we go forward with all of these big projects and so on, these kinds of things is normal that it happens. It’s just my request to the customers and to the investors is please just don’t panic. I mean we will tell you what it is and you know, make a judgment based on the facts rather than suddenly other people who have always been saying that gasification doesn’t work, and then we said Lu’An is shut down and they say, look, I told you so. This is it. This the end of it. Nothing else is going to happen. These guys are going through the wrong track. But again as I said, we will always tell you exactly what we know at the time we talk to you.

Stephen RichardsonEvercore ISI — Analyst

Thank you.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, sir. We are significantly over time. Can we say this is the last question, please?

Operator

Yes. There are no further questions.

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Do we have another question?

Operator

No. At this time, I will turn the call…

Seifi GhasemiChairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

No other — then that’s the right time to end this. Well, I just like to again thank everybody for being on our call and listening to our presentation. We sincerely appreciate your interest, and we look forward to discussing our results with you again next quarter. And as I said earlier, please stay safe and healthy, and all the best. Take care. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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