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GRACE REPORTS LOWER FIRST QUARTER INCOME OF $5 MILLION; EXPECTS FULL YEAR OPERATING EARNINGS UP OVER 10 PERCENT

 GRACE REPORTS LOWER FIRST QUARTER INCOME OF $5 MILLION;
 EXPECTS FULL YEAR OPERATING EARNINGS UP OVER 10 PERCENT
 BOCA RATON, Fla., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) reported net income of $5.0 million or 6 cents per share for the first quarter of 1992, down 84 percent from the $30.8 million or 36 cents per share reported a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations were $19.0 million or 21 cents per share in the latest quarter, a decline of 41 percent compared to $32.2 million or 38 cents per share in 1991. Reported earnings included a $14.0 million charge primarily for the recently announced disposition of Grace's remaining Del Taco restaurants, which had been treated as a discontinued operation. As Grace indicated earlier in the month, operating earnings were lower in its specialty businesses, specialty chemicals and energy sectors, partly offset by a strong contribution from Grace's health care operations and a sharp drop in interest expense.
 Sales and revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 1992 declined 10 percent to $1.33 billion due to absence of sales from businesses sold in 1991.
 "A series of factors combined to reduce first quarter results below expectations for this seasonally lower period," according to J. Peter Grace, chairman and chief executive officer. "However, given the underlying strengths of our core businesses, our aggressive cost management and continuing progress in attaining the company's restructuring program, we fully expect to meet our commitment to shareholders to increase operating income by more than 10 percent for the full year, beginning with improvement in the second quarter."
 Grace's specialty chemicals reported first quarter operating income after taxes of $40.8 million, $6.1 million or 13 percent below the year ago quarter. Packaging earnings declined due to lower U.S. beef packing activity and to reduced sales volume to the processed meat industry in both the U.S. and Europe, especially in relation to an unusually strong European market in early 1991. Sales and revenues of specialty chemical products totaled $747.6 million, down 11 percent due to divestment of the Teroson businesses in 1991.
 Grace health care continued its strong growth with a 25 percent increase in operating income to $20.6 million on sales and revenues of $289 million, a 20 percent improvement. The earnings increase resulted from improved margins in the dialysis, medical products and home health care businesses.
 Specialty businesses reported first quarter operating income of $3.6 million, $8.7 million -- or 71 percent lower than the 1991 quarter -- principally due to the absence of sales and earnings from three divested units and a decline in volume experienced by Grace Cocoa. Sales and revenues for the quarter were $174.7 million. Three-fourths of the sales decline vs. the prior year was due to the absence of sales from businesses sold.
 Operating income for Grace's energy business was $0.6 million, down $4.9 million from a year ago, due to the severe decline in U.S. drilling activity caused by lower market prices for oil and natural gas. First quarter sales and revenues were $114.6 million, down 10 percent from 1991 -- representing a 28 percent decline in revenues from the natural gas and oil field businesses, partly offset by the inclusion of Colowyo coal revenues, reflecting Grace Energy's October 1991 purchase of the 50 percent outside interest in Colowyo.
 Grace is the world's largest specialty chemicals company with a leadership position in health care.
 W. R. GRACE & CO.
 COMPARATIVE RESULTS
 FIRST QUARTER - 1992 VS. 1991
 ($ MILLIONS, EXCEPT PER SHARE)
 (1) (2) (3) (4)
 First Quarter
 Increase/Decrease
 1992 1991 Amount Percent
 Sales and Revenues $1,325.9 $1,480.0 $ (154.1) (10.4)
 Income Before Taxes $ 32.1 $ 52.8 $ (20.7) (39.2)
 Income Taxes 13.4 19.9 (6.5) (32.7)
 Income Before
 Minority Interests $ 18.7 $ 32.9 $ (14.2) (43.2)
 Minority Interests 0.3 (0.7) 1.0 ND
 Income from Continuing Ops 19.0 32.2 (13.2) (41.0)
 Discontinued Ops (14.0) (1.4) (12.6) (900.0)
 Net Income $ 5.0 $ 30.8 $ (25.8) (83.8)
 Earnings Per Share
 Continuing Ops .21 .38 (.17) (44.7)
 Total $ .06 $ .36 $ (.30) (83.3)
 Memo:
 Avg Shares Outstanding 89.2 86.1 3.1 3.6
 Preferred Dividends $ 0.1 $ 0.1 -- --
 Effective Tax Rate (pct.) 41.7 37.7 4.0 pts 10.6
 -0- 4/27/92
 /CONTACT: Chuck Suits of W. R. Grace & Co., 407-362-2600 or 800-GRACE99/
 (GRA) CO: W. R. Grace & Co. ST: Florida IN: CHM SU: ERN


AW-SS -- FL007 -- 2996 04/27/92 09:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 27, 1992
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