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BANTA REPORTS HIGHER SALES AND EARNINGS

 MENASHA, Wis., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Banta Corporation (NASDAQ: BNTA) achieved solid sales and earnings gains for 1993's third quarter. Chairman Calvin W. Aurand, Jr. says many of the corporation's product groups operated near capacity for most of the three-month period, following a slow start.
 Net earnings for the third quarter were $11.6 million, 8 percent above the record $10.7 million earned during 1992's third quarter. Earnings per share were 57 cents for the quarter, compared with last year's 54 cents. 1993's third quarter earnings were reduced 4 cents per share due to the recently enacted federal corporate tax rate increase, which was retroactive to Jan. 1. The cumulative effect of the tax increase, including the required increase in deferred taxes, was recorded in the third quarter. Sales for this year's third quarter reached $184.4 million, 11 percent higher than the $166.2 million reported last year.
 For the nine-month period ended September 1993, net earnings were $30.3 million ($1.51 per share), 14 percent higher than the $26.6 million ($1.34 per share) earned during the same period in 1992. Sales for the nine months were $512.3 million, 9 percent above last year's $470.5 million.
 Banta's third quarter earnings before adjusting for the tax increase were up 15 percent. The year-to-year comparisons, however, are affected by unusual events that occurred in both years, including the relocations of Bushman Press in 1993 and Clark Printing Company in 1992, a large provision for uncollectible accounts in 1992, and the start up of three large presses in 1993. Also affecting earnings in 1993's third quarter were costs associated with meeting tight customer delivery requirements during a period when many of the corporation's plants were operating at near-capacity levels.
 "Recording especially strong sales gains during the quarter were direct marketing materials and software documentation," noted Aurand. "Special-interest magazine sales grew modestly due to the slow growth in advertising pages. Softcover book sales, including educational products, were higher than those achieved during the same period last year." He added that sales and earnings for the point-of-purchase unit were substantially less than last year and single-use products volume was nearly equal to last year.
 Aurand expressed confidence and optimism for the remainder of 1993. For 1994, however, he said the outlook is guarded by the prospect of a continuing slow-growth economy. "Despite that possibility," said Aurand, "we are positioning Banta for further growth through a substantial 1994 capital expenditure program that will add production capacity and help maintain the corporation's reputation as one of the industry's most technologically advanced suppliers."
 Banta Corporation is one of the nation's leading graphic arts companies, offering diverse printing and graphic services.
 BANTA CORPORATION
 Three Months (13 Weeks) (13 Weeks)
 Ended September 1993 1992
 Sales $184,379,000 $166,158,000
 Net earnings $ 11,564,000 $ 10,690,000
 Earnings per share (A) $ .57 $ .54
 Average shares
 outstanding (A) 20,150,756 19,957,628
 Nine Months (39 Weeks) (39 Weeks)
 Ended September 1993 1992
 Sales $512,334,000 $470,473,000
 Net earnings $ 30,314,000 $ 26,587,000
 Earnings per share (A) $ 1.51 $ 1.34
 Average shares
 outstanding (A) 20,127,544 19,913,969
 (A) -- Earnings per share and average shares outstanding have been adjusted to reflect the three-for-two stock split effective April 30, 1993.
 -0- 10/26/93
 /CONTACT: Gerald A. Henseler, executive vice president (analysts), or Mark A. Fleming, corporate communications (media), of Banta Corporation, 414-722-7777/
 (BNTA)


CO: Banta Corporation ST: Wisconsin IN: PUB SU: ERN

KL-AR -- CL028 -- 6795 10/26/93 12:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 26, 1993
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