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HERCULES: SECOND-QUARTER NET INCOME UP -- SHOWS CONTINUED PROGRESS

 HERCULES: SECOND-QUARTER NET INCOME UP -- SHOWS CONTINUED PROGRESS
 WILMINGTON, Del., July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Hercules Incorporated (NYSE: HPC) today reported second-quarter 1992 net income of $43.2 million, compared with a 1991 second-quarter net loss of $6.2 million.
 This represents a 19 percent increase over 1991 absent the Titan IV SRMU charge in the second quarter of 1991. On a per-share basis, the company reported income of $.93 for the 1992 second quarter and a loss of $.13 a year ago. The loss in the second quarter 1991 resulted from a pre-tax charge of $68 million ($.91 per share), which represented the losses associated with the failure of the Titan IV SRMU (developmental solid rocket motor upgrade) during a prequalification test on April 1, 1991.
 For the first six months of 1992, net income was $80.1 million, or $1.72 per share. This compares with 1991 six-month net income of $26.3 million, or $.56 per share, which also reflects the 1991 second- quarter charge associated with the Titan IV SRMU.
 Sales for the second quarter of 1992 were $713.2 million, vs. $734.1 million in the comparable period a year ago. For the six months, 1992 sales were $1.457 billion, vs. 1991 sales of $1.502 billion. The decline in sales is principally the result of excluding the flavors business in 1992, which was joint ventured in the first quarter.
 In commenting on the 1992 second-quarter results, Thomas L. Gossage, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Our businesses continue to improve their profitability, which is an essential part of our continuing program to enhance shareholder value. Operating profit margins, as a percent of sales, are up from a year ago in all business segments, primarily because of cost management. Additionally, our program to become more efficient in tax management has resulted in a lower effective tax rate."
 Gossage noted, "For the quarter, in the Chemical Specialties segment, operating profit increased nearly 12 percent from $26 million in 1991 to $29 million in 1992. This was due primarily to continued margin improvements and some volume increases. Operating profit in the Food & Functional Products segment was up slightly from a year ago, with improved results from water-soluble polymers and nitrocellulose offsetting the exclusion of operating profit due to the spinoff of the flavors business. In the Materials segment. polypropylene fiber continues its strong performance, more than offsetting a decline in the composite materials profitability, which primarily reflects cutbacks in defense spending. The Aerospace segment's improved performance is the result of aggressive cost control necessitated by defense program reductions as well as the strong performance of the Ordnance Group.
 "We remain committed to our goals of improving earnings, positive cash flow, and 14-percent return on shareholder equity (ROE). ROE for the first six months of 1992 was 8.5 percent, compared with 7.3 percent, excluding the 1991 Titan charge, of a year ago," he said.
 At its monthly meeting today, the Hercules board of directors declared its regular quarterly dividend of $.56 per share. The board has also authorized a stock repurchase program of 350,000 shares for various employee benefit programs. This is in addition to the 1991 repurchase program that authorized the purchase of up to 5.4 million shares (.9 million for employee benefit programs).
 Hercules Incorporated is a diversified, worldwide producer of chemicals and related products and solid fuel systems. The company has approximately 80 production facilities located throughout the world, including 30 major plants in the United States.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/22/92
 /CONTACT: Robert B. Hessler of Hercules, 302-594-6920/
 (HPC) CO: Hercules Incorporated ST: Delaware IN: ARO SU: ERN


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Date:Jul 22, 1992
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