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HERCULES REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER NET INCOME UP 14 PERCENT FROM A YEAR AGO

HERCULES REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER NET INCOME UP 14 PERCENT FROM A YEAR AGO
 WILMINGTON, Del., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Hercules Incorporated (NYSE: HPC) today reported first-quarter 1992 net income of $36.9 million, which is an increase of 14 percent compared with 1991 first-quarter net income of $32.5 million.
 On a per-share basis, the company reported $.79 for the 1992 first quarter compared with $.68 a year ago.
 Sales for the first-quarter 1992 were $744 million, vs. $768.4 million in the comparable period a year ago. This revenue decline is principally due to the exclusion of the flavors business in 1992, which was joint ventured.
 This joint venture partnership was completed in February, by combining the Fries & Fries, Inc., flavors unit of IMCERA's Mallinckrodt Speciality Chemicals Company and PFW flavors and Citrus Specialities businesses. This alliance strengthens Hercules' position as a major supplier to the flavors industry. The new company is the fifth largest flavors company in the world.
 In commenting on the 1992 first-quarter results, Thomas L. Gossage, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "As we noted earlier this month at our Annual Meting of Shareholders, even with the economy's lackluster performance, our businesses continue to hold up well. An essential part of improving shareholder value is continued focus on improving profit margins. Operating margins, as a percent of sales, are up from a year ago in all business segments, primarily because of cost management. Operating profit increased 16 percent to $73.6 million from $63.3 million in the like period in 1991."
 Gossage noted, "In the Chemical Specialities segment, operating profit increased 55 percent from $20 million in 1991 to $31 million in 1992. This increase is due primarily to margin improvements in Resins and volume increases in Paper Technology. Operating profit in the Food and Functional Products segment was essentially the same as in 1991. In Materials, the positive volume performance in polypropylene fiber more than offset a performance decline in the composite materials business, which reflects reductions in defense spending. The Aerospace segment's improved performance is the result of aggressive cost control necessitated by program reductions as well as continued good performance of the Ordnance Group."
 Gossage also pointed out, "During this quarter, we finalized the sale of our fragrance business. Completely offsetting the $.23 per share gain we realized on the fragrance sale was the current recognition of closure costs and write-offs associated with the December 1992 expiration of a paraxylene contract and the write-off of a Canadian investment."
 Gossage reiterated that Hercules remains committed to its goals of improving earnings, positive cash flow, and 14 percent return on equity. Return on equity for the first quarter of 1992 was 7.8 percent, compared with 6.8 percent a year ago.
 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- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Robert B. Hessler of Hercules, 302-594-6920/
 (HPC) CO: Hercules Incorporated ST: Delaware IN: ARO SU: ERN


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1992
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