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ECOLAB REPORTS 33 PERCENT SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS GAIN

 ST. PAUL, Minn., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) today reported strong second quarter net earnings from ongoing operations, up 33 percent to $0.61 per share, led by strong International performances, lower interest expense and continued sales growth in all divisions.
 Ecolab's net sales for the second quarter ended June 30, 1993 rose 4 percent to $258 million. Earnings from ongoing operations increased a much higher 34 percent to $19 million. Earnings per share from operations were $0.61 compared with $0.46 last year. Net income per share was $0.48 and reflected an extraordinary charge of $0.13 due to the previously announced early retirement of the remaining $75 million of the company's 10-3/8 percent debentures.
 Net sales for the first half of 1993 increased 4 percent over the same period last year to $499 million. Earnings from ongoing operations rose 24 percent to $32 million, or $1.01 per share compared with $0.82 per share last year. Net income per share for the six months was $1.03 compared with $0.82 last year and included a $0.15 favorable cumulative effect from the adoption of the provisions of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes" (FAS 109) in 1993's first quarter which offset the extraordinary charge of $0.13 due to the debenture retirement.
 Second quarter sales for Ecolab's U.S. operations rose 6 percent over last year to $200 million as all divisions showed good growth. Aggressive sales efforts, new products and better account penetration led the sales gains. U.S. operating income rose slightly to $29 million as an improved product mix and tight cost controls offset continued investments in the sales force, new product development and launches, and other expenses.
 Ecolab's International sales were $57 million in the second quarter compared with $58 million last year. The sales decline reflects the first quarter 1993 sale of the G. H. Wood janitorial business in Canada. Excluding G. H. Wood, International sales from ongoing operations rose 13 percent and were led by strong Latin American and Asia Pacific results. Ecolab's International earnings rose sharply, up 315 percent to $4 million. Excluding G. H. Wood, International earnings were up 71 percent, reflecting higher sales, better product mix and close attention to costs.
 Ecolab's equity in the earnings of the Henkel-Ecolab joint venture was $2 million for the second quarter, an increase of 43 percent over last year's poor results. Economic conditions remain difficult in Europe and will continue to negatively affect second half results. Joint venture sales were $199 million compared with $197 million last year, or DM 322 million compared with DM 324 last year.
 Ecolab net interest expense for the second quarter declined sharply, to $6 million from $9 million last year. The decline reflects the repayment of approximately $170 million in short and long term debt in 1992 and 1993. Future interest expense is expected to decline even further since Ecolab retired the remaining $75 million of its 10-3/8 percent debentures on July 15, 1993.
 Pierson M. Grieve, Ecolab's chairman and chief executive officer commented on the results, saying, "We are pleased with the very strong results of our first half, especially when viewed against the generally difficult world economies in which they were achieved. It is a credit to our people, the businesses they have developed and our strategies.
 "We remain optimistic regarding the second half of the year and look for continued attractive earnings gains, though not at the first half's rapid pace. The U.S. business climate is still fragile and international economies -- particularly Europe and Japan -- continue to be challenging and temper our expectations. However, we remain aggressive in all our markets, having introduced new breakthrough products in our key warewashing and laundry markets this year. We have also significantly increased our worldwide sales and service force and improved our global market positions.
 "Ecolab is well positioned today. We are the global leader in cleaning and sanitizing for the food service, hospitality and food and beverage processing industries. We have an unmatched sales and service force and the most advanced products and systems in our industry. Our financial position is strong, most recently bolstered by the retirement on July 15 of the remaining $75 million of the 10-3/8 percent debentures due 2017. We will continue to use our strengths to build on our global market leadership for the future, investing in our key areas. We expect these investments to yield record profits in 1993 and continued growth next year."
 Ecolab is the leading worldwide developer and marketer of premium cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance products and services for the hospitality, institutional and industrial markets. For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, Ecolab reported sales of $1 billion and earnings of $64 million, or $2.05 per share. Ecolab shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Stock Exchange under the symbol ECL.
 ECOLAB INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
 SECOND QUARTER AND SIX MONTHS ENDED JUNE 30, 1993
 (thousands, except per share)
 (Unaudited)
 Second Quarter Six Months
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net Sales
 United States $200,310 $188,962 $387,490 $367,377
 International 57,472 58,244 111,093 113,851
 Total 257,782 247,206 498,583 481,228
 Cost of Sales 112,147 112,518 219,560 219,229
 Selling, General and
 Administrative Expenses 113,943 106,499 226,602 211,562
 Operating Income (Loss)
 United States 29,034 28,923 52,668 50,465
 International 3,791 913 1,972 3,360
 Corporate (1,133) (1,647) (2,219) (3,388)
 Total 31,692 28,189 52,421 50,437
 Interest Expense, Net 5,895 9,187 12,312 18,803
 Income Before Income Taxes
 and Equity in Earnings of
 Joint Venture 25,797 19,002 40,109 31,634
 Provision for Income Taxes 9,068 6,371 11,977 10,881
 Equity in Earnings of
 Henkel-Ecolab Joint Venture 2,435 1,706 3,658 4,824
 Income Before Extraordinary
 Loss and Cumulative
 Effect of Change in
 Accounting 19,164 14,337 31,790 25,577
 Extraordinary Loss Related
 to Retirement of
 Debt (Net of Income
 Tax Benefit of $2,528) (4,018) -- (4,018) --
 Cumulative Effect of
 Change in Accounting
 for Income Taxes -- -- 4,733 --
 Net Income $15,146 $14,337 $32,505 $25,577
 Income (Loss) Per Common
 Share Income Before
 Extraordinary
 Loss and Change
 in Accounting $0.61 $0.46 $1.01 $0.82
 Extraordinary Loss (0.13) -- (0.13) --
 Change in Accounting
 Principle -- -- 0.15 --
 Net Income $0.48 $0.46 $1.03 $0.82
 Average Common Shares
 Outstanding 31,518 31,330 31,524 31,301
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Michael J. Monahan of Ecolab, 612-293-2809 or (fax) 612-225-3123/
 (ECL)


CO: Ecolab Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: CHM SU: ERN

AL -- MN003 -- 3811 07/21/93 09:34 EDT
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Date:Jul 21, 1993
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