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ASHLAND REPORTS LOWER RESULTS FOR FISCAL THIRD QUARTER, NINE MONTHS

ASHLAND REPORTS LOWER RESULTS FOR FISCAL THIRD QUARTER, NINE MONTHS
 ASHLAND, Ky., July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH) said today it had net income of $32 million, or 54 cents a share, for its fiscal third quarter ended June 30, 1992.
 This compares to net income of $67 million, or $1.19 a share in the same quarter last year. Sales and operating revenues were $2.6 billion for the quarter just ended and $2.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.
 For the nine months ended June 30, 1992, net income was $52 million, or 87 cents a share. This compares to net income of $82 million or $1.48 a share in the same period last year. Sales and operating revenues were $7.4 billion for the first nine months of fiscal 1992 and $7.1 billion in the year-ago period.
 Results for the quarter include an $11 million income tax credit, due to the reversal of excess accruals for income tax liabilities.
 Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John R. Hall said weak refinery margins were the main contributor to the company's disappointing performance.
 "Ashland Petroleum reported essentially break-even results for the quarter, compared to operating income of $79 million in the quarter last year," Hall said. "Refinery margins fell to less than $3 a barrel, compared to $5.25 a barrel in last year's quarter, as ample industry inventories and soft product demand kept petroleum product prices from increasing as rapidly as crude oil costs."
 Weak retail gasoline margins resulting from intense competition led to a near break-even performance by SuperAmerica as well. SuperAmerica had operating income of $7 million a year ago.
 The bright spots for the quarter were Valvoline, whose $17 million in operating income was a record, APAC construction operations and Ashland Chemical. Operating income from APAC increased 72 percent from the 1991 quarter to $13 million. Ashland Chemical had a strong quarter, although operating income declined to $23 million, reflecting lower petrochemical margins. However, Valvoline, APAC and Ashland Chemical all had higher operating income for the nine months.
 Lower Nigerian crude oil production and lower domestic natural gas prices led to a decline in results for Ashland Exploration, which had $5 million in operating income. However, Ashland Exploration's results for the nine months were roughly the same as those of a year ago.
 Equity income from coal operations declined, reflecting mixed results from Ashland's coal investments. Results from Arch Mineral Corporation improved slightly due to lower mining costs. Equity income from Ashland Coal, Inc. (NYSE: ACI), declined to $3 million, despite a positive contribution from the recently acquired Dal-Tex Coal Corporation. Slightly lower total sales volumes from Ashland Coal's other operating subsidiaries as well as higher mining costs at certain operations led to the decline.
 "In summary, intense competition prevails throughout in the petroleum refining industry," Hall said. "The industry continues to operate at better than 95 percent of its gasoline production capacity despite meager refinery margins. We are not optimistic about the outlook for Ashland Petroleum in the fourth quarter; consequently, we expect fiscal 1992 to be a disappointing year for Ashland.
 "However, we are encouraged by the performance of most of our non-refining businesses. Total operating income of $191 million from non-refining businesses was up 9 percent for the nine months, despite a struggling U.S. economy and other adverse conditions. We believe that most of our non-refining businesses will perform even better next year," Hall added. "Longer term, we anticipate refinery margins will improve as the industry completes the transition to cleaner-burning fuels."
 Ashland Oil, Inc. is a diversified energy corporation engaged in petroleum refining, transportation and marketing; retail gasoline marketing; motor oil marketing; chemicals; coal; highway construction; and oil and gas exploration and production.
 ASHLAND OIL, INC.
 (In thousands except per share data -- unaudited)
 Period Three Months Nine Months
 Ended Jun 30 1992 1991 1992 1991
 REVENUES
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (including
 excise taxes) $2,628,659 $2,393,022 $7,380,711 $7,124,399
 Sales & Operating
 revenues (excluding
 excise taxes) 2,467,821 2,225,046 6,891,874 6,666,588
 Total revenues
 (including excise
 taxes) 2,639,325 2,410,792 7,424,984 7,164,833
 RESULTS OF
 OPERATIONS
 Operating income
 (loss) $46,192 $115,788 $109,246 $188,508
 Interest expense-net (32,297) (31,453) (93,751) (94,553)
 Equity income 6,496 8,326 31,607 20,596
 Income tax credit
 (expense) 11,220 (25,980) 4,890(A) (32,070)
 Net income (loss) $31,611 $ 66,681 $51,992 $82,481
 EARNINGS (LOSS)
 PER SHARE
 Primary $0.54 $1.19 $0.87 $1.48
 Assuming full dilution $0.53 $1.15 $0.86 $1.48
 AVG COMMON SHARES
 & EQUIVALENTS
 OUTSTANDING 58,625 55,898 58,410 55,679
 SALES & OPERATING
 REVENUES
 Ashland Petroleum $1,188,482 $1,098,395 $3,450,255 $3,400,619
 SuperAmerica Group 536,474 536,642 1,535,701 1,629,083
 Valvoline 255,051 235,538 671,183 586,772
 Chemical 672,773 578,773 1,829,399 1,711,305
 Construction 266,664 259,509 700,869 716,338
 Exploration 65,521 65,689 199,164 250,826
 Intersegment sales (356,306) (381,524) (1,005,860) (1,170,544)
 $2,628,659 $2,393,022 $7,380,711 $7,124,399
 OPERATING INCOME
 (LOSS)
 Ashland Petroleum $ 868 $ 79,451 $(21,257) $ 81,417
 SuperAmerica Group 418 6,888 15,265 25,919
 Valvoline 17,083 15,516 41,804 21,685
 Chemical 22,836 26,601 76,477 71,336
 Construction 13,083 7,611 29,275 26,101
 Exploration 5,239 7,263 28,228 30,873
 General corporate
 expenses (13,335) (27,542) (60,546) (68,823)
 $46,192 $115,788 $109,246 $188,508
 EQUITY INCOME
 Arch Mineral Corp. $1,216 $1,058 $12,086(B) $ 6,571
 Ashland Coal, Inc. 3,189 4,860 12,175 10,511
 Other 2,091 2,408 7,346 3,514
 $6,496 $8,326 $31,607 $20,596
 (A) A consolidated income tax credit is anticipated for fiscal 1992 due to pretax income substantially reflecting equity income and income from Nigerian operations (both of which are shown net of tax in pretax income). Additionally, certain tax credits will be earned in the domestic natural gas drilling program.
 (B) Includes a gain of $7,658,000 (Ashland's 50 percent share) from insurance proceeds resulting from a fire at an Illinois mine.
 -0- 7/23/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Hartl, investors, in New York, 212-421-1250; or Roger Schrum, media, in Ashland, Ky., 606-329-4061, both of Ashland Oil/
 (ASH ACI) CO: Ashland Oil, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: OIL MNG SU: ERN


CD -- PG007 -- 2297 07/23/92 09:07 EDT
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Date:Jul 23, 1992
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