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 NEW YORK, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Operating income was up slightly

for the first six months of fiscal 1992, at $807 million ($798 million)(See note A), Lord Hanson, chairman of Hanson PLC (NYSE: HAN) reported today. Net interest income was down and there had been no sales of natural resources assets to flow to profit, so unaudited results for the six months to March 31, 1992 showed profit before tax of $848 million, 6 percent down on last year excluding the profit on the disposal of Newmont. Fully diluted earnings per ADR (See note B) were down 12 percent to $0.72 ($0.82).
 Lord Hanson commented, "These results, against the background of worldwide recessionary conditions, are in line with our expectations and confirm the strength and experience of our management and its capacity to meet the challenges ahead."
 The integration of Beazer, acquired in December, is proceeding smoothly and its debt has been refinanced. Hanson's total indebtedness at March 31 was higher than earlier indications as Beazer's former off- balance sheet items have been included. Beazer's performance, superior to many others in the currently beleaguered housebuilding industry, is expected by the year-end to result in a net profit after all interest.
 From July 1 this year, dividends will be paid quarterly, the first payment amounting to 15.58p per ADR (See section on Dividends for complete explanation). Subsequent quarterly dividends will not be less than 15.58p until further notice. This change has a cash flow advantage to shareholders and there is a reduction in the advance corporation tax chargeable for the year to Sept. 30, 1992.
 Contracts have been exchanged with Ralston Purina for the sale, subject to clearance from the U.K. competition authorities, of Hanson's U.K. and Eire Ever Ready companies for $229.5 million cash. Hanson retains ownership of Eveready South Africa which continues to improve profit and return on capital. The proceeds from Ever Ready and from the sale of the 2.8 percent stake in ICI will reduce borrowings and the 500 million pounds sterling raised in Hanson's record-breaking Eurobond issue in April will assist in refinancing short term bank debt and lengthen the loan book.
 After consultation with major institutional shareholders, the review of the company's borrowing powers, due this year, will be deferred until June 1995 or, if earlier, following the publication of a new accounting standard on goodwill.
 The interim report states: "The European Commission, with its power to rule on cross-border business combinations, should open up competition and we shall monitor the resultant opportunities assiduously. Our belief in our ability to compete in global markets and increase the size and profitability of our individual businesses is undiminished. We continue to evaluate each acquisition opportunity and work harder than ever to improve profit and enhance shareholder value."
 Lord White reported an excellent trading profit from Hanson Industries of $377 million against a background of the weakest auto, housing and commercial construction markets in decades. The North American economy continues to struggle to achieve real growth in spite of the beneficial effects of the lower interest rates.
 The integration of Beazer is on course with more than $25 million in annualized cost savings already in place. Two weeks after the Beazer acquisition was completed, new legislation was passed providing for $155 billion of U.S. Government infrastructure spending. Beazer's four largest markets, California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania, are the four states with the highest allocation of these funds. Since 60 percent of Beazer's U.S. business is public sector work, this spending increase provides a significant opportunity for growth.
 The outlook for acquisitions is also favorable for Hanson. Lord White stated, "We shall continue to identify unique situations such as Beazer, Cavenham and Peabody where we can bring our tested management techniques to companies with an excellent asset base."
 Hanson Industries' core industrial businesses - coal, chemicals, aggregates and material handling - are all feeling the effect of reduced business activity compared to the previous year. To mitigate the effects of the downturn, management cut costs and increased efficiency while, in many instances, managing to improve market share.
 Lord White continued, "Recently we have begun to see some signs of recovery in North America and an improvement in our 'early cycle' building products and consumer companies, but we anticipate this process will be slown occurs. Our sound business practices, based on common sense, will enable U.S. to take advantage of the economic upturn as it unfolds."
 Two major presentations to leading U.K. and U.S. institutional shareholders and analysts in February and March emphasized Hanson's operational strengths and growth strategy for the 1990's. Hanson's chief operating officers, Tony Alexander (U.K.) and John Raos (U.S.), say the success of these meetings has been evident with the subsequent increase in U.S. institutional holdings to more than 20 percent of issued capital and the firmness in the share price.
 Their report on Hanson companies begins with Imperial Tobacco, which has again beaten all previous records. A high level of investment continues in manufacturing technology and brands, along with a major strengthening of distribution and sales systems further to protect market share. The March budget, imposing a duty increase of twice the rate of inflation, will depress the total market and increase the trend towards low-priced imports.
 Seven Seas reports higher profit and improved U.K. and export sales. Its cod liver oil has now been launched in Denmark to complement Spanish and Irish markets and further growth is expected throughout Europe. U.S. consumer businesses, Tommy Armour, Ertl Toys, Valley Pool Tables, Rexair, Farberware and Bear Archery all reported increased profit, continuing a trend which began late last year. Endicott Johnson's factory consolidations and elimination of marginal product lines have resulted in a turnaround to profit.
 Tight cost controls have enabled SLD Pumps, with its nationwide network of hire depots, to override general economic trends and it will produce another record profit year. At Smith Meters, demand for domestic gas meters in the U.K. and export markets was very satisfactory. ARC (aggregates) has continued its rigorous cost controls to counter the severe U.K. construction recession. Excess capacity has been mothballed or closed, but new capital investment has also been made on good payback projects. In particular, ARC has extended its marine and concrete interests in Belgium. The integration of Beazer U.S.A is progressing well.
 Sales at London Brick and Butterly Brick have stabilized, but price competition has intensified as a result of nationwide excess production capacity and stocks. Management has driven down costs and introduced excellent new products targeted at the house building sector which is expected to be first to recover. In the four months of our ownership Beazer Homes sold as many houses as last year, with a 16 percent increase in "reservations" due to higher activity with Housing Associations. Commercial construction in the U.S.A shows little sign of recovery which continues to affect profit at Lighting Group and to a lesser extent at Kaiser Cement.
 Crabtree's sales are on budget and considerable reductions in stock and overheads have been achieved. The good profit performance, which exceeds last year's, is expected to continue. Volex Accessories, where profit is in line with budgets, was purchased last year to complement the existing range of excellent electrical products. The success of Jacuzzi's European operations, based in Italy, and the newly introduced J Dream shower models, are more than offsetting weaker North American spa demand.
 Peabody Coal produced over 44 million tons of coal, of which 66 percent was from its low sulphur mines. Productivity gains continued to be realized and export demand was strong. This year Peabody expects record sales to an international market, including Great Britain. Higher export sales have offset reduced demand for metallurgical coal from domestic steel production, caused by the slump in the automotive industry and the general recession.
 Due to lower prices worldwide, SCM Chemicals reported a 36 percent drop in profit as average selling prices for titanium dioxide were down 9 percent. With the completion of the 53,000 metric tons expansion at Ashtabula, Ohio, 83 percent of SCM's 446,000 ton annual capacity will now come from the lower cost and customer preferred chloride process. Glidco's Aromas and Flavors specialty chemicals business is on course for another record year.
 Despite the effects of generally poor construction markets, Grove Crane's North American market share increased to over 52 percent. Grove has entered into a licensing agreement with Daewoo of Korea, an important development which should lead to an expanded market penetration in the Pacific Rim. Gold Fields Mining increased its gold production by 11 percent to a record 220,034 ounces from its Chimney Creek and Mesquite mines. Lower prices and higher mining costs, however, resulted in a 22 percent profit decline. Development drilling continues at Gold Fields' Mule Canyon, Nevada site where prospects are encouraging.
 A full six-month profit from Cavenham Forest Industries, better lumber prices, which have risen an average of 22 percent over the prior year, and continued U.S. Government constraints on timber supply from the public sector, helped improve results for the timber and lumber group.
 Production difficulties at Garden State Tanning resulted in lower profit despite increased sales. Senior management is focused on increasing plant efficiency to handle continuing sales growth. Declines in U.S. automotive production hurt both sales and profit at Leon Plastics (interior trim) and Huron (machined components). Looking ahead, substantial new work has been awarded to both companies by General Motors and Ford for the 1993 model year.
 Payment of the interim dividend to ADR holders will be made by the authorized depositary, Citibank, N.A., on July 8, 1992 to holders of record June 11, 1992. The ADR's are expected to trade ex dividend on the New York Stock Exchange from June 5, 1992.
 The current income tax convention between the U.K. and the U.S. includes provisions which entitle qualifying U.S. resident ADR holders to a refund of the U.K. tax credit attaching to the dividend. On payment of such dividend a 15 percent withholding tax from the dividend plus related tax credit will be deducted which will be eligible for credit against U.S. Federal income taxes by filing Form 1116 "Computation of Foreign Tax Credit" with the Federal income tax return.
 ADR holders unsure of their tax position should consult their independent tax adviser.
 The actual rate of exchange used in determining the dollar payment to ADR holders will be the exchange rate on July 1, 1992.
 Hanson PLC is a British-American industrial management corporation. In the U.S., Hanson Industries' operations include SCM Chemicals, Peabody Coal and Powder River Coal, Cavenham Forest Industries, Beazer, Jacuzzi, Grove Crane, Ames Tools, Endicott Johnson Footwear, Hanson Lighting Group, Kaiser Cement, Weber Aircraft, Farberware Cookware, and Gold Fields Mining, among others.
 In the United Kingdom, Hanson's holdings include Imperial Tobacco, ARC Aggregates, London Brick, Butterley Brick, and Smith Meters.
 (A) The exchange rate used for both fiscal 1992 and fiscal year 1991 was the March 31, 1992 rate of 1 pound sterling equals $1.7385. At March 31, 1991, 1 pound sterling equals $1.7390.
 (B) Each ADR represents five ordinary shares.
 Turn Over and Profit
 1991 1992 1991 1992 March 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 $ million $ million million pounds sterling
 974 902 113 120 Coal mining 69 65 519 560
 501 475 125 80 Chemicals 46 72 273 288
 233 217 35 31 handling 18 20 125 134
 97 101 40 31 Gold mining 18 23 58 56
 655 692 59 58 Other 33 34 398 377
 2,460 2,387 372 320 184 214 1,373 1,415
 2,530 2,693 216 228 products 131 124 1,549 1,455
 610 631 76 85 Other 49 44 363 351
 3,140 3,324 292 313 180 168 1,912 1,806
 Building Products
 469 690 47 16 Aggregates 9 27 397 270
 Forest products &
 122 195 23 59 lumber 34 13 112 70
 - 207 - 30 House building 17 - 119
 589 946 64 69 Other 40 37 544 339
 1,180 2,038 134 174 100 77 1,172 679
 6,780 7,749 798 807 operations 464 459 4,457 3,900
 - - 24 28 undertakings 16 14 - -
 36 - - - operations - - - 21
 6,816 7,749 822 835 480 473 4,457 3,921
 Profit on disposal of
 natural resources
 118 - assets - 68
 179 76 Net int. inc. 44 103
 Central expenses less
 (97) (63) & other inc. (36) (56)
 Profit on ordinary
 1,022 848 activities 488 588
 229 151 Taxation 87 132
 Profit after
 793 697 taxation 401 456
 36 21 income 12 21
 Profit available for
 829 718 appropriation 413 477
 264 - (interim) - 152
 565 718 Profit retained 413 325
 Earnings per ordinary
 Undiluted 8.3p 9.5p
 Diluted 8.3p 9.4p
 Earnings per ADR
 82.6c 72.1c Undiluted
 81.7c 72.1c Diluted
 The exchange rate used in these financial statements was that ruling at March 31, 1992 of $1.7385 to the pound. Extraordinary income for 1991 has been adjusted for goodwill on disposals in accordance with the statement made by the Accounting Standards Board.
 9/30/91 3/31/92 3/31/92 9/30/91
 $ million $ million million pounds sterling
 Fixed assets
 10,777 14,808 Tangible 8,518 6,199
 746 805 pds.598mn) 463 429
 11,523 15,613 8,981 6,628
 Current assets
 1,725 2,530 Stocks 1,455 992
 2,072 2,975 Debtors 1,711 1,192
 Listed investments
 (m.v. pds.7mn-
 10 12 pds.6mn) 7 6
 13,500 13,838 Cash at bank 7,960 7,765
 17,307 19,355 11,133 9,955
 Creditors - due within one year
 2,999 3,814 Debenture loans 2,194 1,725
 Bank loans &
 1,408 5,033 overdrafts 2,895 810
 882 1,286 Trade creditors 740 507
 2,316 2,728 Other creditors 1,569 1,332
 655 - Dividend - 377
 8,260 12,861 7,398 4,751
 9,047 6,494 Net current assets 3,735 5,204
 Total assets less
 20,570 22,107 current liabilities 12,716 11,832
 Creditors - due after one year
 869 869 Convertible loans 500 500
 1,007 1,085 Debenture loans 624 579
 6,608 5,810 Bank loans 3,342 3,801
 8,484 7,764 4,466 4,880
 Provisions for
 6,306 7,850 liabilities 4,515 3,627
 Capital and reserves
 2,090 2,091 Called up share capital 1,203 1,202
 2,004 2,017 Share premium account 1,160 1,153
 283 283 Revaluation reserve 163 163
 1,403 2,102 Profit & loss account 1,209 807
 5,780 6,493 3,735 3,325
 20,570 22,107 12,716 11,832
 Net assets per
 ordinary share 78p 69p
 $6.00 $6.78 Net assets per ADR
 The accounts for the year 1991 set out above are abridged. Full accounts for that year, on which the auditors of the company made an unqualified report, have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.
 (unaudited -- dollars in millions)
 Periods ended Three months Six months
 March 31, 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Sales 4,110 3,484 7,749 6,816
 Pre-tax profit 456 604 848 1,022
 Taxation 82 136 151 229
 Net income before
 extraordinary income 374 468 697 793
 Extraordinary income 21 28 21 36
 Net income 395 496 718 829
 Earnings per ADR
 Primary $.38 $.49 $.72 $.83
 Fully Diluted $.38 $.48 $.72 $.82
 Earnings per ordinary share
 Primary 4.4p 5.6p 8.3p 9.5p
 Fully Diluted 4.4p 5.5p 8.3p 9.4p
 Average ordinary shares
 outstanding (millions):
 Primary 4,809 4,800
 Fully diluted 5,060 5,044
 -- The figures to March 31, 1992 include a four months' contribution from Beazer acquired Dec. 4, 1991 and a six months' contribution from Cavenham acquired in December 1990.
 -- The three months' and six months' figures for 1991 include sales and profits from businesses since sold.
 -- The exchange rate used for both March 31, 1992 and March 31, 1991 was the March 31, 1992 rate of 1 pound equals $1.7385 (At March 31, 1991, 1 pound equals $1.7390).
 -- Each ADR represents five ordinary shares.
 -- From July 1, 1992 dividends will be paid quarterly and the first dividend of 2.75p will be paid to those shareholders on the register on June 11, 1992.
 -- Extraordinary income for 1991 has been adjusted for goodwill on disposals in accordance with the statement made by the Accounting Standards Board.
 (unaudited -- in millions of pounds sterling)
 Periods ended Three months Six months
 March 31, 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Sales turnover 2,364 2,004 4,457 3,921
 Profit on ordinary
 activities 262 347 488 588
 Taxation 47 78 87 132
 Profit after tax 215 269 401 456
 Extraordinary income 12 16 12 21
 Profit available for
 appropriation 227 285 413 477
 Earnings per ordinary share
 Undiluted 4.4p 5.6p 8.3p 9.5p
 Diluted 4.4p 5.5p 8.3p 9.4p
 Average ordinary shares
 Undiluted (in billions) 4.809 4.800
 Diluted (in billions) 5.060 5.044
 -- The figures to March 31, 1992 include a four months' contribution from Beazer acquired Dec. 4, 1991 and a six months' contribution from Cavenham acquired in December 1990.
 -- The three months' and six months' figures for 1991 include sales and profits from businesses since sold.
 -- The exchange rate at March 31, 1992 was one pound equals $1.7385. (At March 31, 1991, one pound equals $1.7390).
 -- From July 1, 1992 dividends will be paid quarterly and the first dividend of 2.75p will be paid to those shareholders on the register on June 11, 1992.
 -- Extraordinary income for 1991 has been adjusted for goodwill on disposals in accordance with the statement made by the Accounting Standards Board.
 -0- 5/14/92
 /CONTACT: Robert M. Brier of Hanson Industries, 212-826-0098/
 (HAN) CO: Hanson plc ST: IN: SU: ERN

SH -- NY022 -- 0197 05/14/92 11:51 EDT
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