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ASHLAND REPORTS EARNINGS FOR FIRST QUARTER OF FISCAL 1993

 ASHLAND, Ky., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today reported net income of $25 million, or 41 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992, the first quarter of its 1993 fiscal year.
 This compares to restated income of $23 million, or 39 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago prior to the cumulative effect of Financial Accounting Standards 106 and 109. Sales and operating revenues were $2.6 billion in the quarter just ended and $2.5 billion a year ago.
 "The highlights of the quarter were a new earnings peak from Ashland Exploration and a record first quarter from Valvoline," said Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John R. Hall. "Although Ashland Petroleum had a difficult quarter due to poor refinery margins, retail gasoline margins were strong, resulting in SuperAmerica's best quarter in three years."
 Hall said weak refinery margins resulting from an imbalance between supply and demand were a problem common to the industry. "U.S. petroleum product demand was up about 2.6 percent on average compared to a year ago. However, high U.S. refinery runs and the addition of oxygenates to the gasoline pool to comply with environmental regulations led to excess gasoline supply. The margin squeeze resulted in an $8 million operating loss from Ashland Petroleum."
 Higher retail margins contributed to an excellent performance by SuperAmerica. Operating income climbed 67 percent to $18 million as sales of both gasoline and merchandise increased.
 Valvoline's operating income of $13 million slightly outpaced last year's record first quarter. The new record was bolstered by substantial improvements from the IG-LO(R) and Mac's(R) product lines. Valvoline Instant Oil Change significantly improved its results as well, thanks to a higher average car count from the chain's 319 company-operated quick-lube outlets.
 Ashland Chemical had operating income of $19 million, compared to $27 million in the quarter a year ago which included $7 million from the sale of certain technology. Although operating income from certain petrochemical and specialty chemical product lines declined, this was nearly offset by improved results from distribution businesses. Operating income from Ashland's APAC highway construction operations declined to $11 million, reflecting poor weather conditions in much of APAC's 14-state operating region.
 Operating income from Ashland Exploration grew 42 percent to $21 million. Contributing to the improvement were stronger domestic natural gas prices, a 30 percent increase in natural gas production to 99 million cubic feet a day and the favorable impact of a contract settlement. These factors more than offset the impact of normal production declines in Nigeria and expenses associated with the start-up of seismic activity on two new offshore petroleum licenses acquired in that country last year.
 Equity income from coal operations totaled $7 million, as results from both Ashland Coal and Arch Mineral improved slightly. Equity income from Ashland Coal was $5 million. Equity income from Arch Mineral was $2 million, a slight improvement despite weak spot coal prices and expenses associated with a major equipment move.
 "Looking ahead, with an improving economy we expect strong results for the rest of the year from our non-refining businesses," Hall said. "While refinery margins currently are disappointing, we anticipate that demand will continue to strengthen as we move into the spring and summer driving season. We remain cautiously optimistic that 1993 can be a better year for the refining industry than 1992."
 ASHLAND OIL, INC.
 (In thousands except per share data -- unaudited)
 Period Three Months
 Ended Dec. 31 1992 1991(1)
 REVENUES
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (including
 excise taxes) $2,554,856 $2,509,786
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (excluding
 excise taxes) 2,392,170 2,342,828
 Total revenues
 (including excise
 taxes) 2,571,946 2,528,290
 RESULTS OF
 OPERATIONS
 Operating income $57,176 $ 50,112
 Interest expense-net (31,649) (29,993)
 Equity income 8,741 9,749
 Income taxes (9,520) (6,657)
 Income before the
 cumulative effect of
 accounting changes $24,748 $23,211
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- (267,442)
 Net income (loss) $24,748 $(244,231)
 EARNINGS (LOSS)
 PER SHARE
 Income before the
 cumulative effect of
 accounting changes $0.41 $0.39
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes $ -- $(4.58)
 Net income (loss) $0.41 $(4.19)
 AVG COMMON SHARES
 & EQUIVALENTS
 OUTSTANDING 58,936 58,219
 Period Three Months
 Ended Dec. 31 1992 1991(1)(2)
 SALES & OPERATING
 REVENUES
 Ashland Petroleum $1,218,288 $1,239,028
 SuperAmerica Group 482,369 471,803
 Valvoline 205,476 196,442
 Chemical 617,256 556,897
 Construction 274,685 280,169
 Exploration 76,494 71,612
 Intersegment sales (319,712) (306,165)
 $2,554,856 $2,509,786
 OPERATING INCOME
 Ashland Petroleum $(7,853) $(6,725)
 SuperAmerica Group 18,023 10,820
 Valvoline 13,219 12,672
 Chemical 18,511 26,869
 Construction 10,508 13,779
 Exploration 20,638 14,508
 General corporate
 expenses (15,870) (21,811)
 $57,176 $50,112
 EQUITY INCOME
 Arch Mineral Corp. $ 1,900 $1,791
 Ashland Coal, Inc. 5,258 5,144
 Other 1,583 2,814
 $8,741 $9,749
 (1) Amounts have been restated to reflect the adoption of FAS 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions," and FAS 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes," effective Oct. 1, 1991.
 (2) Effective Oct. 1, 1992, responsibility for Ashland Branded Marketing, Inc. was transferred to Ashland Petroleum from SuperAmerica Group. Prior year amounts have been restated for comparison.
 -0- 1/25/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Hartl, Investor Relations, in New York, 212-421-1250, or Roger Schrum, Media Relations, 606-329-4061, both of Ashland Oil/
 (ASH)


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

DM -- PG007 -- 8314 01/25/93 09:24 EST
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