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 WILMINGTON, Del., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Hercules Incorporated (NYSE: HPC) today reported second quarter 1993 net income of $54.7 million, a 27 percent increase over the 1992 second-quarter net income of $43.2 million.
 On a per-share basis, the company reported income of $1.26 for the 1993 second quarter and $.93 a year ago, an increase of 35 percent. These results include a net, after-tax gain of $1.2 million, or $.03 per share, resulting from the sale of certain assets largely offset by nonrecurring charges.
 For the first six months of 1993, net income before the effect of accounting changes in the first quarter was $98.6 million, or $2.27 per share compared with $80.1 million, or $1.72 per share, a year ago. With the accounting changes, for the six months of 1993, the company reported a net loss of $140 million, or $3.22 per share. This reflects the noncash, after-tax effects of the first-quarter 1993 adoption of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statements Numbers 106, 109, and 112 relating to retiree health care and life insurance benefits, disability benefits and workers' compensation for former and inactive employees, and income taxes.
 Sales for the second-quarter 1993 were $711 million vs. $713 million in the comparable period a year ago. For the six months, 1993 sales were $1.4 billion compared with $1.5 billion in 1992. The decline in sales is principally the result of decreased Aerospace sales.
 In annoucing the company's financial results, Thomas L. Gossage, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "I am extremely pleased with the company's many accomplishments during the quarter. Net income increased significantly; gross profit margins and operating income were up; cash flow was strong; our short- and long-term credit ratings were upgraded by Standard & Poor's; we sold $125 million of 10-year notes at the very attractive interest rate of 6-5/8 percent, retiring $50 million of higher-priced debt; and we bought back approximately 600,000 shares of common stock. We also sold our 63 percent stock ownership of Australian Chemical Holdings Limited, receiving cash proceeds of more than $50 million after income taxes; we formed a new subsidiary, Global Environmental Solutions, Inc., which is dedicated to the disposal and environmental cleanup of energetic materials, propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnic materials; we successfully completed the fourth static test firing of the solid rocket motor upgrade (SRMU) for the U.S. Air Force Titan IV space launch vehicle -- the final test firing is scheduled for third-quarter 1993 to complete the SRMU qualification; and we implemented an employee common stock purchase program previously approved by shareholders."
 He went on to explain, "Nearly all of our businesses continued to improve their profitability, a key component of our plan to increase shareholder value. For the quarter, profit from operations rose by 12 percent from $77 million to $86 million. Gross profit margins, as a percent of sales, were 28.3 percent compared with 27.2 percent a year ago. Food & Functional Products and Materials both demonstrated improved operating profitability. In Chemical Specialties, while the operating profits were also up, the 1992 results were adversely affected by nonrecurring charges. In 1993, our Chemical Specialties businesses continue to feel the effects of slower European economies. Our ongoing focus on cost management is paying off in higher margins and profitability. Aerospace was down slightly."
 Gossage also noted, "Equity income should continue to provide strong growth. For the 1993 second quarter, equity income increased to $6.1 million from less than $1 million a year ago. Tastemaker, our flavors joint venture, is our largest equity contributor, and we expect it to continue providing annual growth in earnings."
 He continued, "The company's cash flow is positive and strong, reflecting both earnings improvement and the aggressive management of assets. For the quarter and six months, cash flow before financing activities was $176 million and $209 million, respectively, compared to $14 million and $32 million for the corresponding periods in 1992. Cash paid for dividends amounted to $48 million and $51 million for the six- month periods in 1993 and 1992, respectively."
 At its monthly meeting on July 28, the Hercules board of directors declared its regular quarterly dividend of $.56 per share, bringing the dividend declared for the year to date to $1.68. The payment date is Sept. 24, 1993, to shareholders of record Sept. 3.
 Hercules Incorporated is a diversified, worldwide manufacturer of chemicals and related products and solid fuel systems. The company has approximately 75 production facilities located throughout the world, including 30 major plants in the United States.
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: R.B. Hessler of Hercules, 302-594-6920/

CO: Hercules Incorporated ST: Delaware IN: ARO SU: ERN

JM-LJ -- PH035 -- 6826 07/28/93 14:54 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993

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