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WICOR POSTS SHARP INCREASE, SUBSIDIARIES REPORT PLANS FOR GROWTH

 MILWAUKEE, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- WICOR, Inc. (NYSE: WIC), the Milwaukee-based parent of Wisconsin Gas Company and Sta-Rite Industries, Inc., reported first quarter earnings of $23.1 million, up 33 percent from $17.4 million for the same period before accounting changes in 1992.
 The financial results were announced today by Stuart W. Tisdale, chairman and chief executive officer, at WICOR's annual meeting of shareholders.
 Quarterly earnings per share were $1.55, compared with $1.20 for the first quarter of 1992.
 First quarter operating revenues were $261.6 million, compared with $233.3 million for the same period last year.
 Tisdale said efforts to improve profitability at both subsidiaries as well as favorable weather conditions contributed to the increase.
 "We're pleased to see that the steps we've taken to improve our performance are showing results," Tisdale said. He added that earnings also benefited from colder weather during the first quarter, which helped gas sales, and wet conditions elsewhere in the country that boosted demand for Sta-Rite's drainer and utility pumps.
 Wisconsin Gas reported earnings of $21.7 million for the quarter, up 32 percent from $16.5 million in 1992. The utility's operating revenues were $205.4 million this quarter compared with $183.5 million for the same period last year.
 Sta-Rite posted a 33 percent increase over the first quarter of 1992, with earnings of $1.7 million compared with $1.2 million for the period last year. Operating revenues were $55.6 million, up from $49.5 million in the first quarter of 1992. In addition to weather, Tisdale said Sta-Rite's improved performance also resulted from more efficient use of its manufacturing facilities and cost-cutting actions taken in 1992.
 "Sta-Rite is in an excellent position to take advantage of an economic upturn," Tisdale said. "The second and third quarters are typically Sta-Rite's strongest periods, and product orders have been increasing since early this year."
 SUBSIDIARY GROWTH
 In his remarks during the meeting, James C. Donnelly, Sta-Rite's president and chief operating officer, announced that Sta-Rite recently began manufacturing pumps in Moscow. He said the pumps, which will be used to boost water pressure for home and small commercial applications, primarily will be sold to Third World countries and in the former Soviet Union.
 Donnelly said international operations have been Sta-Rite's fastest- growing segment, accounting for about nearly 40 percent of total 1992 sales. He noted that the company's new business in Russia is an example of Sta-Rite's plans to increase its presence in global markets, adding that improving profitability and enhancing growth are major elements of Sta-Rite's strategic plan.
 Thomas F. Schrader, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin Gas, said the utility added a record 53 new communities and 10,400 customers in 1992 and plans to add 9,000 to 10,000 customers annually for the next several years. Schrader also reviewed the utility's plans to position itself as one of the country's leading natural gas utilities, citing growth, gas supply planning and quality customer service as key elements. He said the company has built a strong network of gas supply sources and is ensuring the quality of its service by investing in state-of-the-art technology that is unmatched by any other utility in the nation.
 George E. Wardeberg, WICOR's president and chief operating officer, reviewed WICOR's strategic plan, citing key objectives for financial return, growth, and human resources.
 At the annual meeting, shareholders re-elected three incumbent members of the board of directors: Jere McGaffey, Thomas Schrader, and Stuart Tisdale; approved a director stock option plan; and approved two amendments to an existing stock option plan.
 WICOR is a Milwaukee-based holding company. Its primary subsidiaries are Wisconsin Gas Company, the state's largest distributor of natural gas, and Sta-Rite Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of pumps and water processing equipment for markets throughout the world.
 WICOR, Inc. and Subsidiaries
 Preliminary
 Unaudited Quarterly Results
 (Figures in millions except for per share amounts)
 QUARTER ENDED
 March 31
 Operating Revenues 1993 1992
 Wisconsin Gas Co. $205.4 $183.5
 Sta-Rite Industries, Inc. 55.6 49.5
 Other 0.6 0.3
 WICOR $261.6 $233.3
 Net Income (Before Accounting Changes)(A) 1993 1992
 Wisconsin Gas Co. $ 21.7 $ 16.5
 Sta-Rite Industries, Inc. 1.7 1.2
 Other (0.3) (0.3)
 WICOR $ 23.1 $ 17.4
 Net Income (After Accounting Changes) 1993 1992
 Wisconsin Gas Co. 21.7 16.5
 Sta-Rite Industries, Inc. 1.7 (7.4)
 Other (0.3) 0.3
 WICOR $ 23.1 $ 9.4
 Earnings Per Share
 WICOR Earnings per Common Share $1.55 $1.20
 WICOR Earnings per Common Share $1.55 $0.65
 (After accounting changes)
 Average Shares Outstanding
 (thousands) 14,949 14,499
 (A) Accounting changes for postretirement benefits and deferred income taxes were made in 1992 in compliance with new Financial Standards Board requirements.
 -0- 4/22/93
 /CONTACT: (Media) Kathleen S. Sieja, 414-291-6950, or (Analysts) John P. Hoy, 414-291-6568, both of WICOR, Inc./
 (WIC)


CO: WICOR, Inc. ST: Wisconsin IN: UTI OIL SU: ERN

JG -- DE026 -- 9459 04/22/93 12:37 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1993
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