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AMAX REPORTS LOSS OF $284 MILLION INCLUDING NONRECURRING CHARGES

 NEW YORK, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- AMAX Inc. (NYSE: AMX) today reported an unaudited net loss for 1992 of $284 million ($3.27 per primary common share) compared to earnings of $30.2 million ($0.34 per primary common share) in 1991.
 Excluding a $38 million extraordinary charge for AMAX's obligations for legislated coal retiree health benefits and a net charge of $99 million for the cumulative effect of accounting changes related to post-retirement benefits and income taxes, AMAX had a net loss of $148 million ($1.71 per primary common share) in 1992. Sales by AMAX business units in 1992 totalled $3.7 billion, slightly below 1991 levels.
 Fourth Quarter Results
 AMAX lost $151 million in the fourth quarter of 1992 ($1.73 per primary common share) compared to a loss of $10 million ($0.12 per primary common share) in the same period of 1991. The 1992 quarter included the $38 million after-tax extraordinary item and a pretax charge of $115 million to adjust carrying values and provide for downsizing of various non-core assets. Sales in the fourth quarter of $945 million were higher than the $897 million recorded in the same period of 1991.
 CEO Comments
 Commenting on the results for the year, Allen Born, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of AMAX, said, "AMAX's 1992 loss, its first since 1985, resulted principally from a continuing weak worldwide economy and the impacts that weakness had on markets in which AMAX participates. The new accounting pronouncement for post-retirement benefits, while partly offset by the new rules for income tax accounting, also contributed greatly to the loss.
 "Management realizes," he said, "that we can't rely on external factors, such as the eventual return to higher price levels, to return the company to profitability and strengthen its financial position.
 "We initiated a restructuring and debt reduction program in 1992 which includes equity financing, reduction of our dividend, sales of non-core assets and reductions in capital spending. That program will extend over the next two years and should enable us to reduce debt by about a third."
 Earnings from Operations
 AMAX had a $113 million loss from operations in 1992. The loss from operations includes various unusual charges and gains which had a cumulative net effect of reducing 1992 results by $203 million. Excluding those items, AMAX business units had 1992 pretax earnings of $90 million, compared to $198 million, pretax, the previous year.
 The following charges affecting 1992 pretax earnings from operations were:
 -- $130 million to adjust the carrying value of various non-core assets and provide for additional streamlining, downsizing and other costs;
 -- $41 million in post-retirement benefit expenses resulting from the adoption of the new accounting standard as of Jan. 1, 1992, and
 -- $51 million in start-up expenses for the company's new Lauralco smelter in Quebec.
 Offsetting these charges were capitalization of $11 million of expensed gold exploration costs ($9 million of which was incurred prior to 1992) and an $8 million pretax gain from the sale of water rights.
 Earnings from operations in 1991 included $27 million of pretax income from the settlement of a coal supply contract and a $5 million pretax provision for certain nonoperating coal properties.
 Results for 1992 included a $56 million pretax gain from the issuance of Amax Gold Inc. stock to acquire the Fort Knox gold property in Alaska. The market value of the Amax Gold shares issued was substantially in excess of the per share amount carried on AMAX's books.
 Apart from the special items, the reduction in 1992 Earnings from Operations resulted primarily from deteriorating market conditions. Shipments were lower than 1991 levels for all AMAX businesses except aluminum. Metals prices declined from the previous year and energy prices approximated prior year levels.
 AMAX's aluminum unit, Alumax, which normally provides two-thirds of the company's revenue, experienced its first operating loss ever as a result of start-up expenses on its new Lauralco smelter in Quebec.
 Decreased production in AMAX's gold and energy businesses -- coal and oil & natural gas -- reduced earnings in those three units.
 Results for the full year include the benefit of the sale of surplus water rights in Colorado and the disposal of some non-core assets including sale of Amax Potash, and the write-off and closure of AMAX's specialty coppers operation.
 Accounting Pronouncement Impacts
 The full, cumulative effect as of Jan. 1, 1992 of the new, post- retirement employee benefits costs obligation (FASB 106) was recorded as of the beginning of 1992. Results for the first three quarters of the year have been restated to include the impact of the accounting change. Results also were restated to reflect the new accounting standard for income taxes (FASB 109). AMAX employee benefit plans were revised during the year to help contain medical costs in future years. AMAX estimates that using the new accrual method for reporting benefit costs in 1993 will increase costs only $15 million ($9 million after tax) more than the pay-as-you-go method previously used.
 Perspective
 Commenting on the state of the company, Born said, "We don't see significant improvement in metals prices early in 1993 and we're positioning ourselves to deal with continued difficult business conditions. However, natural gas prices have improved and recent upturns in the U.S. economy could mean improved demand and prices for the commodities we produce later in the year.
 "We've made significant capital investments to build the lowest-cost operations in our industries. We remain confident of our ability to weather the near-term storm and we're optimistic about the prospects for significant returns to our investors when business conditions improve."
 AMAX, through its business units, is the third largest producer of aluminum in the United States and a major producer of coal, natural gas, gold and molybdenum.
 AMAX INC.
 (In millions except per share earnings)
 Year ended Dec. 31 1992 1991
 Sales $3,698 $3,772
 Earnings from operations (113) 198
 Net earnings (loss) (284) 30
 Weighted average common
 shares outstanding 87.3 86.8
 Net earnings (loss) per common share ($3.27) $ 0.34
 Quarter ended Dec. 31 1992 1991
 Sales $945 $897
 Earnings from operations (119) 24
 Net earnings (loss) (151) (10)
 Weighted average common
 shares outstanding 87.5 86.8
 Net earnings (loss) per common share ($1.73) $ (0.12)
 -0- 2/4/93
 /CONTACT: Jerry Cooper of AMAX Inc., 212-856-5982
 (AMX)


CO: AMAX Inc. ST: New York IN: MNG SU: ERN

TS -- NY109 -- 3138 02/04/93 15:49 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1993
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