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ASHLAND EARNINGS UP SUBSTANTIALLY

 ASHLAND, Ky., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today reported net income of $67 million, or $1.00 a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, the final quarter of its 1993 fiscal year. This compares to a net loss of $103 million, or $1.75 a share, in the quarter last year. Sales and operating revenues were $2.7 billion for the 1993 quarter and $2.8 billion a year ago.
 For the year ended Sept. 30, Ashland had net income of $142 million, or $2.26 a share. This compares to a net loss of $336 million, or $5.75 a share, last year. Sales and operating revenues were $10.2 billion in both periods.
 The 1993 quarter included a previously disclosed net gain of $18 million, or 28 cents a share, due mainly to the effect of tax law changes on 38-percent-owned Ashland Coal, Inc. Special charges and accounting changes reduced Ashland Oil's 1992 results by $115 million, or $1.95 a share, for the quarter, and $400 million, or $6.83 a share, for the year.
 "This year's improved performance was led by record earnings from Ashland Chemical, SuperAmerica and Valvoline and was boosted by a substantial earnings rebound from Ashland Petroleum and strong results from Ashland Exploration and APAC," said Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John R. Hall. "However, equity income from Ashland Coal and Arch Mineral Corporation was adversely affected by the impact of the strike by the United Mine Workers of America."
 Ashland Chemical, the largest contributor to 1993 results, had both a record fourth quarter and a record year. Operating income of $28 million for the quarter pushed the year's total to $108 million, as increases from distribution and specialty chemicals groups more than offset lower petrochemical earnings. Higher gasoline and merchandise margins led to a strong quarter and a record year for SuperAmerica, Ashland's retail marketing division. Operating income was $18 million for the quarter and $65 million for the year. Valvoline bested last year's record results with operating income of $56 million for the year. Outstanding results from automotive chemical lines and improved results from Valvoline Instant Oil Change contributed to the increase.
 Improved refining margins led to substantially better results from Ashland Petroleum. Operating income was $36 million for the quarter and $56 million for the year. Higher asphalt prices, stronger regional product markets, more opportunistic crude oil purchases and the benefits of a successful, ongoing cost reduction program were major factors in the petroleum company's earnings rebound.
 Operating income from APAC highway construction operations totaled $26 million for the quarter and $53 million for the year. Results continue to reflect the upswing in construction markets due to the 1991 Surface Transportation Act. APAC's backlog remained strong at $544 million, although down slightly from last year due to a heavy volume of work completed in the fourth quarter.
 Ashland Exploration had a strong year driven by a 27 percent increase in natural gas production, which averaged nearly 100 million cubic feet a day, and higher natural gas prices. These factors more than offset declining crude oil production in Nigeria. Operating income totaled $5 million for the quarter and $36 million for the year.
 Equity income from coal operations declined for the year, reflecting the adverse impact of the UMWA strike. Equity income from Ashland Coal was $27 million, as the previously discussed unusual gain more than offset the consequences of the strike. However, the strike's impact on Arch Mineral led to a $10 million equity loss to Ashland Oil.
 "In summary, we were very pleased with our improved results," Hall said. "Looking ahead, the distillate season is off to a good start, and we hope that the combination of stronger markets and our actions to improve Ashland Petroleum's competitive position will result in continuing strength in refining earnings during the December quarter.
 "Our non-refining businesses continue to perform well, and we are optimistic about their outlook for fiscal 1994," he concluded.
 ASHLAND OIL, INC.
 (In thousands
 except per share data - unaudited)
 Three months ended Year ended
 September 30 September 30
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 REVENUES
 Sales and operating
 revenues (including
 excise taxes) $2,653,190 $2,830,107 $10,198,784 $10,210,818
 Sales and operating
 revenues (excluding
 excise taxes) 2,487,455 2,660,357 9,553,925 9,552,231
 Total revenues
 (including excise
 taxes) 2,651,099 2,825,749 10,256,259 10,250,733
 RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 Operating income
 (loss) $104,145 $(147,024) $296,985 $(62,599)
 Interest expense -
 net (29,432) (34,278) (122,359) (128,029)
 Equity income 13,803 2,932 25,708 32,512
 Income taxes (21,980) 75,321 (58,100) 89,818
 Income (loss)
 before the cumulative
 effect of accounting
 changes 66,536 (103,049) 142,234 (68,298)
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- -- -- (267,442)
 Net income
 (loss) $66,536 $(103,049) $142,234(A) $(335,740)(A)
 PRIMARY EARNINGS (LOSS) PER SHARE
 Income (loss) before
 the cumulative effect of
 accounting changes $1.00 $(1.75) $2.26 $(1.18)
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- -- -- (4.57)
 Net income (loss) $1.00 $(1.75) $2.26(A)


$(5.75)(A)
 AVERAGE COMMON SHARES
 AND EQUIVALENTS
 OUTSTANDING 59,365 58,861 59,138 58,390
 (A) Net income and primary earnings per share excluding unusual items amounted to $114,656,000, or $1.82 per share, for 1993 and $63,829,000, or $1.08 per share, for 1992.
 Three months ended Year ended
 September 30 September 30
 (In thousands - unaudited) 1993 1992(A) 1993 1992(A)
 SALES AND OPERATING REVENUES
 Petroleum $1,223,693 $1,356,258 $4,752,264 $4,848,388
 SuperAmerica 429,248 498,503 1,785,341 1,887,703
 Valvoline 244,455 228,844 938,376 900,027
 Chemical 653,725 658,401 2,585,483 2,487,800
 Construction 356,506 342,467 1,115,621 1,043,336
 Exploration 52,230 62,545 246,377 261,709
 Intersegment sales (306,667) (316,911) (1,224,678) (1,218,145)
 $2,653,190 $2,830,107 $10,198,784 $10,210,818
 OPERATING INCOME (LOSS)
 Petroleum $36,042 $(93,593) $55,840(B)$(125,278)
 SuperAmerica 17,601 (14,145) 65,212 1,715
 Valvoline 14,475 9,604 55,961 50,048
 Total Refining
 and Marketing Group 68,118 (98,134) 177,013 (73,515)
 Chemical 28,186 10,482 108,148 81,101
 Construction 25,543 21,697 53,085 45,440
 Exploration 4,722 (11,062) 36,100 16,517
 General corporate
 expenses (22,424) (70,007) (77,361) (132,142)
 $104,145 $(147,024) $296,985 $(62,599)(C)
 EQUITY INCOME
 Arch Mineral
 Corporation $(7,923) $(2,142) $(10,156) $9,550(D)
 Ashland Coal, Inc. 19,535 2,595 26,934(E) 13,137
 Other 2,191 2,479 8,930 9,825
 $13,803 $2,932 $25,708 $32,512
 (A) Effective Oct. 1, 1992, responsibility for Ashland Branded Marketing, Inc. was transferred to Petroleum from SuperAmerica. Prior year amounts have been restated for comparison.
 (B) Includes a gain of $14,864,000 in the March quarter on the sale of TPT, an inland waterways barge operation.
 (C) Operating income for 1992 includes special charges and accounting changes totaling $208,053,000 (the majority of which was recorded in the September quarter) which reduced operating income for each of the segments as follows: Petroleum ($89,173,000), SuperAmerica ($27,349,000), Valvoline ($1,820,000), Chemical ($14,987,000), Construction ($8,446,000), Exploration ($16,667,000), and general corporate expenses ($49,601,000).
 (D) Includes a gain of $7,658,000 in the March quarter from insurance proceeds resulting from a fire at an Illinois mine.
 (E) Includes a net gain of $19,997,000 in the September quarter resulting from favorable adjustments to income tax expense due to tax law changes, partially offset by the write-off of certain prepaid royalties.
 -0- 10/25/93
 /CONTACT: investors, Bill Hartl, in New York, 212-421-1250; or media, Roger Schrum, 606-329-4061, of Ashland Oil/
 (ASH)


CO: Ashland Oil, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: OIL SU: ERN

CD -- PG007 -- 6158 10/25/93 09:17 EDT
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Date:Oct 25, 1993
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