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UNIVAR CORP. ANNOUNCES YEAR-END, FOURTH-QUARTER EARNINGS AND DECLARES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND

 KIRKLAND, Wash., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Univar Corp. (NYSE: UVX; PSE), a multinational leader in distribution services, today reported improved earnings for its fiscal year ended Feb. 28, 1993, and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per share, payable June 1 to shareholders of record May 10.
 Net earnings for the year were $5.1 million, or 26 cents per share, compared to a loss of $5.6 million, or a loss of 29 cents per share, in the prior year.
 Sales for 1993 increased by 15.6 percent to $1.8 billion, primarily as a result of significant European and Canadian acquisitions completed during the second half of last year. Gross margin, expressed as a percentage of sales, increased to 14.7 percent in 1993, up from 14.4 percent in 1992.
 For the fourth quarter, sales were $415.6 million, compared to $409.9 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year. Univar reported net earnings of $0.5 million, or 3 cents per share, for the fourth quarter, compared to net earnings of $1.3 million, or 7 cents per share, in the fourth quarter last year.
 James W. Bernard, president and chief executive officer, said, "While net earnings did improve over the prior year, they still remain below what management and our shareholders consider acceptable. Continuing difficult economic conditions, and the timing of investments necessary for our future profitable growth, combined to impede progress toward a return to more historic earnings levels."
 According to Bernard, Univar was affected by adverse economic conditions throughout the world, especially in Europe and eastern Canada, which prevented the company from achieving its sales growth expectations. "Despite the fact that sales were lower than we anticipated," said Bernard, "by aggressively containing costs, we were able to reduce our operating expenses as a percentage of sales to 13.5 percent for 1993, compared to 13.7 percent for 1992. In the United States and Canada, the corporation's largest market, operating expenses decreased to 13.2 percent of sales."
 Results for the year also were affected by the timing of costs associated with completion of the corporation's new UVX2000(TM) satellite-networked information system, with advanced capabilities not previously available in the chemical distribution industry. During the past several years of development, Univar has capitalized most UVX2000 costs. However, in fiscal year 1993, the corporation began expensing not only operating costs, but also the associated amortization on this investment.
 "We already are beginning to realize many of the operational and competitive benefits we anticipated from this system," said Bernard, "including improved productivity, more accurate supplier and regulatory information, enhanced customer service and management control over our entire operation." As a result, he said, "better economic conditions will provide the opportunity for substantially improved profitability."
 Univar Corp., headquartered in Kirkland, serves industry through three subsidiaries, Van Waters & Rogers Inc. in the United States, Van Waters & Rogers Ltd. in Canada and Univar Europe N.V. in Europe.
 UNIVAR CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
 (In thousands, except share data)
 Three Months Twelve Months
 Ended Feb. 28: 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Sales $415,590 $409,901 $1,801,023 $1,558,496
 Cost of sales 352,834 345,358 1,536,817 1,334,123
 Gross margin 62,756 64,543 264,206 224,373
 Gross margin percentage
 (percents) 15.1 15.7 14.7 14.4
 Operating expenses 58,851 58,017 243,008 212,783
 Restructuring charges 0 0 0 9,870
 Income from operations 3,905 6,526 21,198 1,720
 Other Income (Expense):
 Interest expense (3,995) (3,584) (15,248) (11,358)
 Other income - net 415 502 2,478 1,835
 Income (loss) before
 tax provision and
 minority interest 325 3,444 8,428 (7,803)
 Tax provision (benefit) (503) 2,536 2,812 (1,785)
 Income (loss) before
 minority interest 828 908 5,616 (6,018)
 Minority interest (341) 404 (482) 392
 Net income (loss) $ 487 $ 1,312 $ 5,134 $ (5,626)
 Net income (loss) per
 share $ 0.03 $ 0.07 $ 0.26 $ (0.29)
 Weighted average number
 of shares outstanding 19,692,949 19,695,728 19,697,632 19,247,260
 -0- 4/26/93
 /CONTACT: Gary E. Pruitt of Univar, 206-889-3400/
 (UVX)


CO: Univar Corp. ST: Washington IN: CHM SU: ERN DIV

SW-LM -- SE003 -- 0439 04/26/93 07:50 EDT
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Date:Apr 26, 1993
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