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ACME STEEL COMPANY REPORTS $920,000 FOURTH QUARTER LOSS; LOSS FOR YEAR WAS $2,318,000

 ACME STEEL COMPANY REPORTS $920,000 FOURTH QUARTER LOSS;
 LOSS FOR YEAR WAS $2,318,000
 RIVERDALE, Ill., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Acme Steel Company (NASDAQ/NMS: ACME) today reported a fourth quarter 1991 net loss of $920,000, or 17 cents per common share, on sales of $94,271,000. However, two charges accounted for 13 cents of the per share loss.
 One charge related to expenses to reduce production at an iron ore mine, and the other to legal costs associated with the proposed creation of a new parent company and operating subsidiaries.
 In 1990's fourth quarter, the company had earned $2,433,000, or 45 cents per share, on sales of $104,251,000. However, results in the 1990 period benefited from an unusual income item of 41 cents per share.
 For the full year, Acme lost $2,318,000 or 43 cents per share, on sales of $376,951,000. In 1990, the company earned $5,633,000, or $1.05 per share, on sales of $446,042,000.
 "The overall tenor of our business has been holding essentially steady since the third quarter, when we managed to post a modest profit," explained Brian W.H. Marsden, Acme Steel Company president and chief executive officer. "I had hoped that we would be able to maintain that momentum in the fourth quarter, but, as usual, the year's final quarter was adversely affected by seasonal customer holiday plant shutdowns in December," he added.
 "We are not satisfied with our financial performance, but I believe our shareholders can be encouraged by Acme's ability to achieve near- breakeven results during a downturn that has become one of the nation's longest post-World War II recessions," Marsden noted.
 The Acme president credited the company's strategy of modernizing core manufacturing facilities and acquiring "downstream" users of its steel for improving the company's performance during the year. Cost containment in the face of depressed selling prices helped Acme maintain its financial strength and a positive cash flow throughout the downturn, he added.
 During 1991, many of the company's modernized operations achieved record productivity and unit cost levels, despite demand that was well below capacity. Acme's subsidiary operations used more than 45 percent of the company's steel during the year to produce higher margin products, locking in a solid base of business.
 The company's packaging division enjoyed a strong performance during 1991, as did its Universal Tool & Stamping subsidiary. Universal, the nation's largest producer of jacks for automobiles and light trucks, maintained the previous year's sales levels, despite the auto industry downturn. Acme's integrated steel and its welded steel pipe and tube businesses both saw weak demand and continued price weakness.
 In the fourth quarter, Acme recorded a $485,000 pretax charge to cover expenses associated with the previously announced program to reduce production at the Wabush Mine, a Canadian iron ore producer in which Acme is an equity partner. The quarter also saw a pretax charge of $350,000 to cover legal costs associated with the Acme Steel Company's proposal to create a new parent company and operating subsidiaries. Combined, these items reduced per share earnings by 13 cents.
 The combination of the charges and the normal seasonal falloff in customer demand contributed to Acme's inability to maintain profitability in the fourth quarter, he noted.
 Working capital at year-end was $84,165,000, up from $79,394,000 at the end of the third quarter and $76,471,000 at the end of December 1991. The current ratio at quarter's end improved to 2.7 to 1, compared to 2.6 to 1 at the end of the third quarter and 2.5 to 1 at year-end 1990.
 Stockholders equity stood at $150,664,000, or $28.13 per common share, at year-end, compared to $151,578,000, or $28.30 per share, at the end of the third quarter. Equity was $152,730,000, or $28.65 per share, at Dec. 30, 1990.
 "First quarter 1992 orders are showing signs of modest improvement -- a good sign that the economic turnaround is continuing to take shape, but at a slow pace," Marsden concluded.
 Acme Steel Company is a fully integrated producer of steel, steel strapping and strapping tools, welded steel pipe and tube, and automotive and light truck jacks.
 ACME STEEL COMPANY
 Consolidated Statement of Operations
 For the Three Months and Twelve Months
 Ended Dec. 29, 1991 & Dec. 30, 1990
 (In thousands except per share data -- Unaudited)
 FOURTH QUARTER TWELVE MONTHS
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Net sales $94,271 $104,251 $376,951 $446,042
 Cost of products sold 86,413 95,558 349,203 408,330
 Gross profit 7,858 8,693 27,748 36,712
 Selling & admin. expense 8,310 7,775 29,219 27,916
 Operating income (loss) (452) 918 (1,471) 8,796
 Non-operating income (expense):
 Interest expense-net (1,012) (1,165) (4,211) (4,178)
 Unusual income item -- 4,005 1,241 4,005
 Other income-net 501 297 1,391 765
 Income (loss) before
 income taxes (963) 4,055 (3,050) 9,388
 Income tax provision (credit) (43) 1,622 (732) 3,755
 Net income (loss) $ (920) $ 2,433 $ (2,318) $ 5,633
 Net income (loss)
 per common share $ (0.17) $ 0.45 $ (0.43) $ 1.05
 NOTES:
 1. Per share mounts for 1991 and 1990 are based on the weighted
 average number of common and dilutive common equivalent shares
 outstanding during the six month period (5,373,564 in 1991
 and 5,355,845 in 1990).
 2. The company has reclassified the presentation of the 1990
 Consolidated Statement of Operations and Consolidated Balance
 Sheet to conform with the 1991 presentation.
 ACME STEEL COMPANY
 CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET
 Dec. 29, 1991 and Dec. 30, 1990
 (In thousands -- unaudited)
 ASSETS 1991 1990
 Current assets $134,192 $126,497
 Investments and other assets 26,814 26,687
 Property, plant and equipment-net 129,730 133,419
 Total assets $290,736 $286,603
 LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
 Current liabilities $ 50,027 $ 50,026
 Long-term debt 59,500 59,500
 Other long-term liabilities 30,545 24,347
 Shareholders' equity 150,664 152,730
 Total liabilities &
 shareholders' equity $290,736 $286,603
 ACME STEEL COMPANY
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
 For the Twelve Months Ended Dec. 29, 1991 and Dec. 30, 1990
 (In thousands -- unaudited)
 1991 1990
 Net cash provided by
 operating activities $ 21,721 $ 24,045
 Investment in associated company -- (5,844)
 Business acquisitions-net of cash acquired -- (3,245)
 Capital expenditures (10,611) (28,604)
 Net cash used for investing activities (10,611) (37,693)
 Purchase of common stock for treasury (462) (508)
 Other 19 180
 Net cash used for financing activities (443) (328)
 Net increase (decrease)
 in cash & cash equivalents 10,667 (13,976)
 Cash and cash equivalents:
 Beginning of period 21,067 35,043
 End of period $ 31,734 $ 231,067
 -0- 1/22/92
 /CONTACT: Charles A. Nekvasil, director of public and investor relations of Acme Steel, 708-849-2500/
 (ACME) CO: Acme Steel Company ST: Illinois IN: MNG SU: ERN


JT -- NY101 -- 2533 01/22/92 17:48 EST
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