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Stock Strategist

Air Products Spin-Off Worth Keeping an Eye On

Shares of Versum began trading this month, allowing investors an opportunity to benefit from a newly independent, high-quality business.

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Seifi Ghasemi's two-year tenure as  Air Products & Chemicals' (APD) CEO has featured nary a false step, marked by record profitability and surging returns on capital amid sluggish global industrial demand and currency headwinds. He’s been restructuring and refocusing Air Products on an accelerated timetable since assuming leadership in mid-2014 and has already realigned operating segments, decentralized decision-making, slashed overhead, and focused the businesses squarely on improved returns and cash flow.

Another of his goals is to focus the company solely on industrial gases and to exit or divest unrelated or noncore assets. The final piece in this restructuring puzzle is the spin-off of the electronic materials division into  Versum Materials (VSM), a leading supplier of process gases, advanced materials, and delivery systems to chip manufacturers and mobile device makers.

David Silver does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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