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ECOLAB REPORTS 50 PERCENT INCREASE IN FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 ECOLAB REPORTS 50 PERCENT INCREASE
 IN FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS
 ST. PAUL, Minn., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) reported a 50 percent increase in first quarter 1992 earnings per share from continuing operations to $0.36 from the $0.24 recorded in the same year-ago period. First quarter 1991 results were influenced by the negative impact of the Persian Gulf war on the worldwide travel and hospitality industries.
 First quarter revenues from continuing operations rose 13 percent to $234 million from last year's $207 million, reflecting strong volume growth in most markets as well as the revenues provided by the 19 non- European operations purchased from Henkel last July. Total entity revenues, including 50 percent of the Henkel-Ecolab European joint venture's revenues which are reported under the equity method of accounting, were $335 million in the first quarter of 1992.
 Cash flow from continuing operating activities was $6 million, up from ($15) million in the first quarter of 1991 due to the increased level of earnings and the sustained emphasis on working capital management.
 Pierson M. Grieve, Ecolab's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "First quarter results were reasonably strong given the continued softness in a number of our major markets. The U.S. operations achieved good results and once again demonstrated the strength of our domestic cleaning and sanitizing business. Our international operations registered improved revenue and operating income in every region. These international results reflect the substantial progress and synergies achieved by integrating the non- European Henkel businesses, as well as a sharp improvement in our Latin American businesses' performance."
 Commenting on the outlook for the year, Grieve stated, "Ecolab's businesses are well-positioned for solid earnings and cash flow improvement in 1992, but the rate of improvement will not match the first quarter growth which compared with the relatively weak 1991 first quarter. We continue to be concerned about the lingering global recession and the slow recovery in the domestic travel and hospitality markets. We expect these conditions to moderate later in the year and that improvement should be reflected in our financial performance."
 Ecolab's domestic revenues rose 7 percent to $178 million from $166 million in the first quarter of 1991. The Janitorial, Pest Elimination, and Klenzade divisions reported double-digit revenue growth primarily due to strong national account gains. Domestic first quarter operating income increased 12 percent to $22 million from $19 million last year due to volume growth, favorable product mix and continued emphasis on cost control.
 The Henkel-Ecolab European joint venture contributed $3 million in net earnings to Ecolab's first quarter results. Total revenues for the joint venture's first quarter, which ran from Dec. 1, 1991, through Feb. 29, 1992, including the less active post-holiday season, were $201 million, up 6 percent from pro forma first quarter 1991 levels.
 Ecolab's international operations reported growth in revenues and operating income, bolstered by the additional Henkel businesses in the Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions. International revenues increased 36 percent to $56 million in the first quarter of 1992, up from $41 million in 1991. The Henkel businesses contributed approximately $10 million of the total revenue increase. This revenue increase was partially responsible for international first quarter operating income rising to $2 million compared with a ($2) million loss last year.
 Net interest expense increased $3 million compared with last year, reflecting the financing costs associated with the Henkel transaction and a higher level of seasonal borrowings for discontinued ChemLawn operations.
 Net earnings of $.36 per share compared with a restated net loss per share of ($1.33) in the first quarter of 1991 which included a ($1.04) one-time charge reflecting the cumulative prior-year effect of adopting FAS 106, "Employers' Accounting for Post-retirement Benefits Other Than Pensions", and a ($.53) per share loss reported by Ecolab's discontinued ChemLawn operations.
 Ecolab is a leading worldwide developer and marketer of premium cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance products and services for the hospitality, institutional and industrial markets. Ecolab's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Stock Exchange under the symbol ECL.
 ECOLAB INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
 FIRST QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1992
 (Unaudited)
 (thousands, except per share) 1992 1991
 Net Sales
 United States $178,415 $166,323
 International 55,607 40,868
 Total 234,022 207,191
 Cost of Sales 106,711 98,370
 Selling, General and Administrative
 Expenses 105,063 90,137
 Operating Income
 United States 21,542 19,244
 International 2,447 (1,824)
 Europe --- 2,391
 Corporate (1,741) (1,127)
 Total 22,248 18,684
 Interest Expense, Net 9,616 6,695
 Income from Continuing Operations
 Before Income Taxes and Equity in
 Earnings of Joint Venture 12,632 11,989
 Provision for Income Taxes 4,510 4,340
 Equity in Earnings of Henkel-Ecolab
 Joint Venture 3,118 ---
 Income from Continuing Operations 11,240 7,649
 (Loss) from Discontinued
 ChemLawn Operations --- (12,602)
 Cumulative Effect of the Change in
 Accounting for Postretirement
 Health Care Benefits --- (24,560)
 Net Income (Loss) 11,240 (29,513)
 Preferred Stock Dividends --- 1,925
 Net Income (Loss) to Common Shareholders $ 11,240 $(31,438)
 Income (Loss) Per Common Share
 Continuing Operations $ 0.36 $ 0.24
 Discontinued Operations --- $ (0.53)
 Change in Accounting Principle --- $ (1.04)
 Net Income (Loss) $ 0.36 $ (1.33)
 Average Common Shares Outstanding 31,272 23,615
 -0- 4/30/92
 /CONTACT: Reid J. D. Dabney of Ecolab, 612-293-2482/
 (ECL) CO: Ecolab Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: SU: ERN


KH -- MN007 -- 4935 04/30/92 12:28 EDT
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Date:Apr 30, 1992
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