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BANTA REPORTS IMPROVED FOURTH QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS

 BANTA REPORTS IMPROVED FOURTH QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS
 MENASHA, Wis., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Banta Corporation (NASDAQ: BNTA) recorded improved sales and earnings during the fourth quarter of 1991, helping achieve full-year results that were only modestly lower than the record levels set in 1990. Chairman Calvin W. Aurand, Jr. noted performance during 1991 was the second best in the corporation's history and that promising fourth quarter activity has created momentum for 1992.
 For the three months ended December 1991, net earnings from continuing operations were $7.5 million, 12 percent higher than the $6.7 million earned during the same period last year. Earnings per share from continuing operations were 57 cents, a 10 percent increase over the 52 cents reported in the fourth quarter of 1990. Sales for the quarter were $147.5 million, a 3 percent increase from last year's $143.5 million.
 For the year, net earnings from continuing operations were 4 percent lower at $28.2 million ($2.16 per share), compared with $29.4 million ($2.29 per share) last year. Sales were $565.5 million versus $577.6 million in 1990. Including the additional loss provision of $7.6 million for discontinued operations taken during the third quarter, net earnings for 1991 were $20.6 million ($1.58 per share). This compares with net earnings of $18.2 million ($1.42 per share) in 1990, which included an $8.5 million loss provision for discontinued operations.
 Chairman Aurand says Banta's direct marketing materials business produced improved fourth quarter results compared to the same period last year, further building on the market share gains achieved during the previous two quarters. The corporation's single-use products category, according to Aurand, ended a strong year with continued earnings gains.
 "Our point-of-purchase products operation recorded excellent growth during both the quarter and the year," he says, noting 1991 was the operation's first full year of providing stamp finishing and distribution services to the U.S. Postal Service.
 Consumer catalogs experienced their normal surge in activity during the fourth quarter, ending on a positive note what had been a particularly difficult year. He added, however, that persistent catalog pricing competition and weakness in paper markets continued to affect margins during the quarter. "Special-interest magazines were once again impacted by reduced advertising page counts," states Aurand. "Fortunately, we achieved market share gains early in the year that carried over and allowed us to achieve improved earnings for that business both quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year." Softcover book activity was predictably slow during what is normally an off quarter for that product category.
 Banta Corporation is one of the nation's leading graphic arts companies, offering diverse printing and graphic services. It serves publishers of educational and general books, special- interest magazines, consumer and business catalogs, and direct marketing materials. Its other businesses offer prepress services, multimedia and software packages, and point-of-purchase materials, and single-use products. Banta Corporation is a Fortune 500 company.
 BANTA CORPORATION
 Three Months (13 Weeks) (13 Weeks)
 Ended December 28, 1991 1991 1990
 Sales $147,466,000 $143,514,000
 Net earnings from
 continuing operations $ 7,500,000 $ 6,671,000
 Net earnings $ 7,500,000 $ 6,671,000
 Earnings per share from
 continuing operations $ .57 $ .52
 Earnings per share $ .57 $ .52
 Average shares outstanding 13,178,836 12,820,814
 Twelve Months (52 Weeks) (52 Weeks)
 Ended December 28, 1991 1991 1990
 Sales $565,473,000 $577,614,000
 Net earnings from
 continuing operations $ 28,219,000 $ 29,352,000
 Net loss from
 discontinued operations $ (7,600,000) $(11,181,000)
 Net earnings $ 20,619,000 $ 18,171,000
 Earnings per share from
 continuing operations $ 2.16 $ 2.29
 Loss per share from
 discontinued operations $ (.58) $ (.87)
 Earnings per share $ 1.58 $ 1.42
 Average shares outstanding 13,078,642 12,794,729
 -0- 2/4/92
 /CONTACT: Gerald Henseler, senior vice president and treasurer of Banta Corporation, 414-722-7777
 (BNTA) CO: Banta Corporation ST: Wisconsin IN: PUB SU: ERN


KK -- CL009 -- 6707 02/04/92 12:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 4, 1992
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