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GRACE TELLS SHAREHOLDERS STRATEGIC PLAN ON COURSE; NON-STRATEGIC DVs TO CONTINUE, EARNINGS IMPROVEMENT EYED

 GRACE TELLS SHAREHOLDERS STRATEGIC PLAN ON COURSE;
 NON-STRATEGIC DVs TO CONTINUE, EARNINGS IMPROVEMENT EYED
 BOCA RATON, Fla., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYE: GRA) told shareholders at the company's annual meeting held here today that its worldwide business strategy is on course, with divestments of non-strategic businesses continuing, growth of Grace's core operations expanding, and reorganization of operating management along global product lines advancing. Shareholders also heard management say that operating earnings are expected to increase by more than 10 percent in 1992.
 Company chairman and chief executive officer, J. Peter Grace, presided at the meeting held for the first time in Florida, where Grace relocated its corporate headquarters last year. Grace has more than 1,500 employees and approximately 3,000 shareholders in Florida. "Last year was a good one for W. R. Grace," Grace explained. "Our stock price rose 65 percent. Together with our dividend of $1.40 per share, the total return to our shareholders was 71 percent. This was more than double the gain of the broader market averages," the chief executive added.
 In his report to shareholders, J. P. Bolduc, president and chief operating officer, said: "We are repositioning the company for future growth. Our targets are clear and challenging--$1 billion more in proceeds from divestments of non-strategic businesses; reducing capital expenditures to less than $400 million; reduction of debt/capital ratio to less than 45 percent; a minimum of $50 million in reduction of overhead company wide; annual growth in operating earnings of at least 10 percent; return on total capital of 15 percent and return on shareholders' equity of 20 percent."
 Emphasizing his point, Bolduc said: "The six strategic businesses, which have been selected for expansion and focus--packaging, construction products, health care, catalysts and other silica-based products, container sealants and water treatment--have produced very impressive financial results during the past five years (1987-1991) -- more than 10 percent annual earnings growth, more than 15 percent return on investment and more than 20 percent return on shareholder equity."
 "To capitalize on some terrific business opportunities Grace enjoys," Bolduc commented, "we need executives with global experience, who are at home in all parts of the world." Two global product line managers of Grace businesses were introduced -- Jean-Louis Greze, president of Grace packaging worldwide and Ian Priestnell, president of Grace Dearborn water treatment. "In the process of internationalizing our own operations," Bolduc added, "we are going to internationalize Boca Raton as well."
 Shareholders elected the company's slate of directors and ratified the selection of independent accountants.
 Grace is the world's largest specialty chemicals company with a leadership position in health care.
 -0- 5/11/92
 /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:


AW -- FL004 -- 8543 05/11/92 10:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 11, 1992
Words:472
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