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GERBER REPORTS RECORD 3RD-QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS

 GERBER REPORTS RECORD 3RD-QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS
 FREMONT, Mich., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Earnings per share of the


Gerber Products Company (NYSE: GEB) for its fiscal 1992 third quarter rose 14 percent over the prior-year period to a record $0.82. This was before an after-tax charge of $0.43 per share for the revamping of the company's apparel operations, primarily related to the closing of cloth diaper weaving facilities.
 For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991, Gerber net sales and revenue rose 8 percent to a record $298 million, compared to $276 million in last year's third quarter. Net earnings after the apparel charge of $16 million were $14.5 million, or $0.39 per share, vs. $27.2 million, or $0.72 per share, in fiscal 1991's third quarter.
 Gerber net sales and revenue for the first nine months of fiscal 1992 increased 3 percent to $895 million from $866 million last year. Net earnings were $83.7 million, or $2.24 per share, compared to $90.2 million, or $2.39 per share, in the first nine months of fiscal 1991. Had it not been for the charge for the revamping of the apparel operations, earnings per share for the first nine months of fiscal 1992 would have been $2.67.
 "Continued growth in the baby food business coupled with excellent performances by our Buster Brown apparel and Gerber Life Insurance businesses were the primary factors for the record third-quarter performance," said Al Piergallini, Gerber chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Total baby food unit volume growth through nine months vs. the year-earlier period was over 3 percent. This growth is consistent with our expectations for volume growth for all of fiscal 1992 in the 2- to 4-percent range."
 The food and baby care segment's sales increased 11 percent to $204 million. Operating income increased by 12 percent to $46.6 million from the $41.5 in last year's third quarter. Both volume growth and higher prices contributed to these increases.
 "The apparel group results continued to be hurt by a significant decline in demand for our cloth diapers caused by inroads from low cost, foreign-sourced cloth diapers. The cloth diaper market was equally hurt by the massive spending by the disposable diaper producers to assuage, I believe erroneously, consumer concerns about the harmful environmental impact of disposable diapers. Accordingly, we announced last week that we are going to eliminate the high-cost component of our diaper business -- diaper cloth weaving -- and compete in the diaper market in a more flexible, higher margin manner," he said.
 The apparel group had sales of $77.4 million, slightly below the $78.9 million in fiscal 1991's third quarter. Because of the $22 million pre-tax charge for the revamping of apparel operations, the group had a loss of $17.9 million compared to operating income of $4.8 million last year.
 Piergallini said that progress continued in the development of the company's international business. "Export volume increased, primarily a result of new shipments to France and a good Latin America market. We will look to the international arena as an expanding growth area for Gerber.
 "The third quarter was a good quarter for Gerber; we expect continued progress for the remainder of fiscal 1992," he said.
 GERBER PRODUCTS COMPANY
 RESULTS OF OPERATIONS(A)
 QUARTER ENDED DEC. 31
 PCT.
 1991 1990 CHANGE
 Net Sales and Revenue $298,159 $276,057 8.0
 Interest, Royalties & Other
 Income 6,764 6,595 2.6
 Cost of Products Sold &
 Services Provided 174,446 161,714 7.9
 Mktg., Distribution, Admin.
 and General Expenses 79,411 74,443 6.7
 Restructuring Charges 22,000 --- ---
 Interest Expense 3,788 4,074 (7.0)
 Income Before Taxes 25,278 42,421 (40.4)
 Provision for Income Taxes 10,757 15,213 (29.3)
 Net Earnings $ 14,521 $ 27,208 (46.6)
 Net Earnings Per Share $.39 $.72 (45.8)
 Average Shares Outstanding 37,380 37,657
 RESULTS BY SEGMENT(A)
 QUARTER ENDED DEC. 31
 Sales and Revenue Operating Profit (Loss)
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Food and Baby Care
 Food $185,093 $164,427 --- ---
 Baby Care 19,383 20,234
 Total 204,476 184,661 $46,572 $41,541
 Apparel Group 77,381 78,894 (17,858) 4,788
 Other 16,302 12,502 1,372 1,309
 Total $298,159 $276,057 30,086 47,638
 Interest Expense --- --- (3,751) (4,074)
 Investment Income --- --- 3,033 3,260
 General Corp. Exp. --- --- (4,090) (4,403)
 --- --- 25,278 42,421
 Income Taxes --- --- 10,757 15,213
 Net Earnings --- --- $14,521 $27,208
 (A) -- Unaudited. Amounts in thousands, except per-share data.
 RESULTS OF OPERATIONS(A)
 NINE MONTHS ENDED DEC. 31
 PCT.
 1991 1990 CHANGE
 Net Sales and Revenue $895,103 $865,543 3.4
 Interest, Royalties & Other
 Income 18,740 18,469 1.5
 Cost of Products Sold &
 Services Provided 521,799 509,749 2.4
 Mktg., Distribution, Admin.
 and General Expenses 224,964 218,437 3.0
 Restructuring Charges 22,000 --- ---
 Interest Expense 12,352 13,327 (7.3)
 Income Before Taxes 132,728 142,499 (6.9)
 Provision for Income Taxes 48,989 52,304 (6.3)
 Net Earnings $ 83,739 $ 90,195 (7.2)
 Net Earnings Per Share $2.24 $2.39 (6.3)
 Average Shares Outstanding 37,404 37,714
 RESULTS BY SEGMENT(A)
 NINE MONTHS ENDED DEC. 31
 Sales and Revenue Operating Profit (Loss)
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Food and Baby Care
 Food $546,382 $497,730 --- ---
 Baby Care 62,860 61,770 --- ---
 Total 609,242 559,500 $145,854 $134,780
 Apparel Group 236,645 265,879 (4,402) 20,522
 Other 49,216 40,164 5,803 4,527
 Total $895,103 $865,543 147,255 159,829
 Interest Expense --- --- (12,315) (13,327)
 Investment Income --- --- 8,457 8,492
 General Corp. Exp. --- --- (10,669) (12,495)
 --- --- 132,728 142,499
 Income Taxes --- --- 48,989 52,304
 Net Earnings --- --- $ 83,739 $ 90,195
 (A) -- Unaudited. Amounts in thousands, except per-share data.
 CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION(A)
 AS OF DEC. 31
 1991 1990
 Assets
 Cash and Short-Term Investments $105,620 $136,574
 Accounts Receivable 109,496 86,158
 Inventories 217,915 191,798
 Total Current Assets 433,031 414,530
 Other Assets 199,422 182,067
 Net Properties 205,826 200,043
 Total $838,279 $796,640
 Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
 Current Liabilities $193,529 $156,235
 Long-Term Debt 126,299 165,912
 Other Liabilities 79,445 81,913
 Shareholders' Equity 439,006 392,580
 Total $838,279 $796,640
 (A) -- Unaudited. Amounts in thousands.
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Timothy J. Croasdaile of Gerber Products Company, 616-928-2718/
 (GEB) CO: Gerber Products Company ST: Michigan IN: FOD SU: ERN


ML-JG -- DE001 -- 2614 01/23/92 08:33 EST
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