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HERCULES INCORPORATED REPORTS RESULTS, DECLARES DIVIDEND

 WILMINGTON, Del., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Hercules Incorporated (NYSE: HPC) today reported fourth-quarter 1992 net earnings of $.95 per share, a 32 percent increase over the 1991 fourth-quarter net earnings of $.72 per share.
 Fourth-quarter 1992 net income was $41.8 million, compared with fourth-quarter 1991 net income of $34.1 million.
 Net income for full-year 1992 was $167.9 million, or $3.69 per share, compared with $94.9 million, or $2.01 per share, in 1991. Both years include unusual gains and charges, which have been previously reported.
 Sales for the fourth-quarter 1992 were $697 million, compared with $710 million in the 1991 fourth quarter. For the year, 1992 sales were $2.865 billion, compared with 1991 sales of $2.929 billion. The decline for both the year and quarter is principally the result of excluding the sales of the flavors business, which was joint ventured in the first quarter.
 "The performance in the fourth quarter of 1992 was a fine accomplishment for our company. It continued the positive trend in key financial results that is necessary for Hercules to reach its goals," said Thomas L. Gossage, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our employees are to be commended for their achievements, which were accomplished in a slow and uneven worldwide economy."
 He continued, "A key accomplishment for the year was our 9.2 percent return on stockholder equity (ROE), which puts us well on our way toward our 1995 goal of 14 percent. Also, the company generated significant positive cash flow in 1992.
 "Hercules' financial position continued to improve as both short- and long-term debt were reduced, with total debt for the year down $126 million from year-end 1991. In fact, over the past two years, total debt has been reduced by about $300 million and share repurchases have amounted to about $250 million.
 "Other important performance measures also continued to improve in the fourth quarter. Indirect expense (selling, general and administrative expenses, and R & D) as a percent of sales declined from 17 percent in 1991 to 15.4 percent in 1992, bringing us closer to our target of 15 percent or less."
 In commenting on the performance of the company's businesses for 1992, Gossage said, "Our Chemical Specialties businesses improved their profit from operations by 36 percent. Both Resins and Paper Technology benefitted from improved manufacturing costs. In Food & Functional Products, the Aqualon water-soluble polymer and nitrocellulose businesses also demonstrated improved profit from operations. In December 1992, we authorized a $76 million investment to expand capacity and consolidate production of methylcellulose at Aqualon's Doel, Belgium, plant. With this expansion, methylcellulose, a water-soluble polymer used primarily in the construction industry, will become an even more significant contributor to Aqualon's profitability. As we have indicated throughout the year, the food gums business did not perform as well as a year ago, owing to increased competitive capacity for both pectin and carrageenan.
 "In Materials, process improvements in Absorbent & Textile Products made a substantial contribution to higher productivity and financial results. In Packaging Films, increases in productivity were a major factor in the group's return to profitability although additional work is required to generate satisfactory returns. Of all of our businesses, Composite Products has felt the greatest impact from Department of Defense cutbacks, and its profitability has suffered accordingly.
 "In Aerospace, the successful testing of the Titan IV solid rocket motor upgrade (SRMU) was the most gratifying achievement of the year. We expect to complete the remaining tests in 1993. In a declining defense market, Aerospace has maintained its revenues and profit levels. This has been substantially achieved through aggressive cost management."
 At today's scheduled meeting, the Hercules board of directors declared its regular quarterly dividend of $.56 per share on common stock, payable March 25, 1993, to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 5.
 Hercules Incorporated is a diversified, worldwide producer of chemicals and related products and solid fuel systems. The company has approximately 80 production facilities located throughout the world, including 30 major plants in the United States.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/3/93
 /CONTACT: Robert B. Hessler, director of Financial Public Relations of Hercules, 302-594-6920/
 (HPC)


CO: Hercules Incorporated ST: Delaware IN: ARO SU: ERN DIV

MK-CC -- PH018 -- 2369 02/03/93 11:56 EST
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Date:Feb 3, 1993
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