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DEXTER REPORTS RESULTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 1991 AND THE YEAR

 DEXTER REPORTS RESULTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER OF 1991 AND THE YEAR
 WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dexter Corporation (NYSE: DEX), a leading specialty materials producer, today reported that the year 1991 resulted in a net loss of $7.1 million, or $.29 per share, compared to net income of $42.2 million, or $1.74 per share, in 1990. Sales for the year were a record $937.7 million, a 3 percent increase over sales of $907.9 million in 1990.
 The primary causes of the loss were a $25.1 million charge which reduced net income by $.86 per share for environmental settlement costs and related legal fees taken through the first three quarters of 1991 and, in line with a prior announcement, a $12.6 million provision which reduced net income by $.46 per share related to the anticipated loss on the sale of the company's pultrusions and composites businesses. Additionally, charges of $9.8 million, or $.24 per share, associated with the previously announced restructuring and realignment of operations were taken in 1991. In total, these charges more than offset results from operations of $1.27 per share in 1991.
 Sales for the fourth quarter of 1991 were $236.0 million, an increase of 2 percent over sales of $230.7 million in the fourth quarter of 1990. The net loss for the quarter was $10.6 million, or $.44 per share, as compared to net income of $9.4 million, or $.39 per share, for the fourth quarter of 1990. The fourth quarter 1991 net loss comprises a charge of $.46 per share to recognize the anticipated loss on divesting businesses, a charge of $.21 per share with respect to the realignment of operations, and operating earnings of $.23 per share. Earnings from operations for the fourth quarter of 1991 were 41 percent below the $.39 per share in the fourth quarter of 1990.
 The 2 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter of 1991 compared with the fourth quarter of 1990 comprises price increases averaging 2 percent, a 1 percent increase in unit volume and a 2 percent increase due to the net effect of acquired or divested businesses, partially offset by a 3 percent decrease due to the effect of lower currency exchange rates on international sales. Products with strong sales performance in the fourth quarter of 1991 include nonwoven products serving the domestic market, beverage container coatings serving the international market, and molecular biology and cell culture products at Life Technologies, Inc.
 Consolidated gross margin of 31.9 percent for the fourth quarter of 1991, stated as a percentage of sales, decreased from 33.6 percent for the fourth quarter of 1990. Strong margin improvements in the nonwovens business were more than offset by the net impact of acquired or divested businesses and lower margins in those businesses serving the electronics market due to lower volume sales resulting from the recessionary economy. Average price increases were somewhat greater than average raw material cost increases in the fourth quarter of 1991. However, this favorable impact was offset by increases in other variable and fixed manufacturing costs, causing gross margins and earnings to decrease when compared to the fourth quarter of 1990. Also, margins were lower at Life Technologies, Inc. as unit costs for fetal bovine serum increased at a greater rate than unit selling prices.
 Marketing and administrative expense increased $2.4 million, or 5 percent, in the fourth quarter of 1991 compared with the same period last year due primarily to higher expenses associated with recently acquired businesses and increased marketing expenses at Life Technologies, Inc.
 Other income decreased $2.0 million, or 56 percent, in the fourth quarter of 1991 principally due to lower interest income.
 Income attributed to minority interest shareholders decreased $0.9 million, or 44 percent, in the quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 1990 due primarily to reduced profits at Life Technologies, Inc. resulting from the $1.2 million restructuring charge taken for the reorganization of its U.S. operations.
 An effective tax rate of 37 percent was applied to earnings from operations in the fourth quarter of 1991 which is consistent with the fourth quarter of 1990. However, due to the nondeductibility of the write-down of goodwill, only 60 percent of the one-time charges in the fourth quarter 1991 was tax effected in the quarter thereby producing a net tax benefit of only $0.7 million against the $10.1 million pre-tax loss.
 K. Grahame Walker, president and chief executive officer, stated, "Although 1991 results were disappointing, we took essential steps to align the company more closely with its growth market strategy in addition to putting the financial burden of the environmental issues in Windsor Locks behind us. As a slimmer, clearly focused and more cohesive corporation, we are now positioned and poised for earnings improvement in 1992."
 Dexter further announced that it is considering adopting FASB 106 in the first quarter of 1993 and is studying various plans and funding vehicles for retiree health benefits. Depending on whether the company continues its present arrangements or changes to one of the alternative plans under consideration, the immediate recognition of the transition obligation would result in an after-tax charge of $15 to $20 million. Adoption of FASB 106 would cause no material change to the annual pre- tax charge to earnings for retiree health benefits from the current level of less than $1 million, assuming the transition charge is immediately recognized and the underlying employee plans are funded. However, the annual charge to earnings would rise to approximately $4 million if the plans remain unfunded and to approximately $5.5 million if the transition obligation was not immediately recognized. These estimates are necessarily based on current facts and actuarial assumptions and will be updated prior to adoption.
 The Dexter Corporation is a Fortune 500 company producing specialty materials and supporting services to customers in five strategic markets: aerospace, automotive, electronics, food packaging and medical. Founded in 1767, Dexter is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
 THE DEXTER CORPORATION
 Statement of Operations
 (In thousands of dollars except per share amounts)
 Three months ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Revenues:
 Net sales $236,000 $230,722 2
 Other income 1,597 3,595 -56
 Total 237,597 234,317 1
 Expenses:
 Cost of sales 160,647 153,310 5
 Marketing and administrative 51,073 48,647 5
 Research and development 10,071 9,693 4
 Interest 4,631 4,501 3
 Provision for environmental settlement
 costs and related legal fees -- 1,983
 Divestiture and restructuring activities
 Loss (gain) on divestiture of product
 lines 12,607 (7,100)
 Charge for restructuring businesses,
 net 8,714 5,080 72
 Income (loss) before taxes (10,146) 18,203
 Income taxes (690) 6,736
 Income (loss) before minority interests (9,456) 11,467
 Minority interests 1,167 2,067 -44
 Net income (loss) $(10,623) $ 9,400
 Net income (loss) per share $(.44) $ .39
 Dividends declared per share $ .22 $ .22
 Average shares outstanding (000) 24,149 24,130
 12 months ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Revenues:
 Net sales $937,734 $907,946 3
 Other income 6,749 12,207 -45
 Total 944,483 920,153 3
 Expenses:
 Cost of sales 628,577 593,497 6
 Marketing and administrative 198,334 191,656 3
 Research and development 42,056 39,880 5
 Interest 16,800 17,484 -4
 Provision for environmental settlement
 costs and related legal fees 25,068 3,773
 Divestiture and restructuring activities
 Loss (gain) on divestiture of product
 lines 12,607 (13,280)
 Charge for restructuring businesses,
 net 9,849 9,736 1
 Income (loss) before taxes 11,192 77,407 -86
 Income taxes 12,251 28,641 -57
 Income (loss) before minority interests (1,059) 48,766
 Minority interests 6,060 6,616 -8
 Net income (loss) $ (7,119) $ 42,150
 Net income (loss) per share $(.29) $1.74
 Dividends declared per share $ .88 $ .88
 Average shares outstanding (000) 24,145 24,282 -1
 THE DEXTER CORPORATION
 Net Sales by Product Group
 (In thousands of dollars)
 Three months ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Specialty Materials & Services $ 85,341 $ 91,051 -6
 Specialty Coatings & Encapsulants 81,816 82,991 -1
 Specialty Plastics & Composites 24,022 16,986 41
 Life Technologies 44,821 39,694 13
 Consolidated $236,000 $230,722 2
 12 months ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Specialty Materials & Services $338,236 $318,282 6
 Specialty Coatings & Encapsulants 334,363 335,008
 Specialty Plastics & Composites 94,196 103,353 -9
 Life Technologies 170,939 151,303 13
 Consolidated $937,734 $907,946 3
 The net effect of businesses acquired or divested decreased net sales of the Specialty Materials & Services Group $6.5 million for the quarter and increased net sales $10.6 million year-to-date. The effect of businesses acquired increased net sales of the Specialty Coatings & Encapsulants Group $3.7 million for the quarter and $12.4 million year- to-date. In the Specialty Plastics & Composites Group, the effect of acquired businesses increased net sales $6.2 million for the quarter and that effect combined with businesses divested and the formation of the joint venture with Solvay & Cie S.A. decreased net sales $10.8 million year-to-date.
 THE DEXTER CORPORATION
 Condensed Statement of Financial Position
 (In thousands of dollars except per share amounts)
 12/31/91 12/31/90
 ASSETS
 Cash and short-term investments $ 39,734 $ 80,959
 Accounts receivable, net 152,169 143,975
 Inventories:
 Materials and supplies 63,324 60,372
 In process and finished 97,652 85,813
 LIFO reserve (23,617) (23,790)
 Total 137,359 122,395
 Prepaid and deferred expenses 33,165 15,988
 Total current assets 362,427 363,317
 Property, plant and equipment, at cost, net 299,342 274,147
 Excess of cost over net assets of businesses
 acquired 54,021 57,402
 Other assets 68,681 67,517
 Total $784,471 $762,383
 LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
 Short-term debt $ 810
 Current installments of long-term debt $ 2,590 9,144
 Accounts payable 78,399 70,463
 Accrued liabilities and taxes 82,252 62,181
 Dividends payable 5,313 5,309
 Total current liabilities 168,554 147,907
 Long-term debt 188,702 156,383
 Subordinated notes - convertible into
 Life Technologies, Inc., common stock -- 4,095
 Deferred items 69,595 58,160
 Minority interests 43,838 52,140
 Shareholders' equity:
 Common stock and paid-in capital 33,320 33,391
 Retained earnings 292,278 320,647
 Currency translation effects 1,845 3,603
 Treasury stock (13,661) (13,943)
 Total shareholders' equity 313,782 343,698
 Total $784,471 $762,383
 Equity per share $12.99 $14.24
 -0- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Kathleen Burdett or John D. Thompson of Dexter, 203-627-9051; or Kevin Costello of Cameron Associates, 212-644-9560, for Dexter/
 (DEX) CO: The Dexter Corporation ST: Connecticut IN: ARO SU: ERN


GK-OS -- NY025 -- 6077 02/03/92 10:41 EST
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