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LITTELFUSE REPORTS STRONG FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS ON RECORD SALES

 DES PLAINES, Ill., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Littelfuse, Inc., (NASDAQ: LFUS), the world's technological leader in advanced circuit protection devices for the electronic, electrical power and automotive industries, today reported net income of $1.6 million or 14 cents per share for its first quarter ended March 31, on sales of $39.7 million, a new all-time record quarter high.
 Net sales were up nearly 7 percent from last year's strong first quarter, surpassing the previous all-time high set in last year's second quarter, and showing an acceleration of better than 14 percent from the fourth quarter pace. Earnings also were a record, and a dramatic change from the $2.7 million first quarter loss reported last year after amortization of the one-time "fresh start" inventory writeup of approximately $5 million. Steady earnings of approximately $1.1 million in the last three quarters of last year erased the loss and gave Littelfuse a profitable "first year."
 Howard B. Witt, president and chief executive officer, said this year's first quarter results "provide a better picture of the company's fundamental strengths and future potential. We are beginning to put some of the effects of fresh-start accounting behind us and we are continuing to move ahead on our strategic objectives. It's good to be able to make meaningful year-to-year comparisons and see favorable trends taking shape." All geographic and market segments contributed to the record first-quarter results, Witt said. Worldwide, power fuse sales were up 13 percent, automotive sales were up 7 percent, and electronic sales were up 5 percent over year-ago levels.
 Pacific Rim sales continued strong and were up better than 30 percent, Witt said. Sales in North America and Europe were each up approximately 5 percent. The volume gain in Europe was notable against the background of many other U.S. manufacturers reporting depressed sales due to the European economy. Some softness in electronic sales volume in the early part of the first quarter has been improving in more recent weeks, Witt indicated. The company's worldwide distribution network contributes to both growth and balance in today's increasingly global economy, he noted, when a customer moving production from one part of the world is served by strategically located Littelfuse facilities in another.
 James F. Brace, vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, said, "The first quarter gross profit of $14.9 million was up 14 percent from the year-ago level after adding back the amortization of the one-time inventory write-up, and amounted to 37.7 percent of sales. Operating income was 11.8 percent of sales for the quarter. Cash flow from operations was $6.2 million and enabled the company to prepay $5 million of long-term debt during the quarter, well ahead of required payment schedule." In addition to strong operating performance, Brace said the first quarter results were aided by lower interest expense due to reduced debt and lower interest rates, lower asset depreciation, better working capital control with fewer days receivables outstanding and improved inventory turns since year end, and a favorable cash vs. expense tax situation. These benefits are ongoing, he noted.
 One way to view the company's recent results is in the trailing 12-month numbers, Brace said. From last year's second quarter through this year's first quarter, sales were $152.4 million; gross profit was $58.2 million or 38 percent of sales; operating income was $16.6 million or 11 percent of sales; and net income was $4.9 million or 3 percent of sales. Earnings per share were 45 cents on a trailing 12-month basis. "Taken together, these are very respectable numbers given our fresh start balance sheet, and all operating ratios stand to benefit from ongoing sales growth, cost reduction, debt reduction and other financial factors," Brace said. "With the first quarter's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) up slightly less than the gain in sales, our focus for the remainder of 1993 will be on improving profitability somewhat more than sales."
 Littelfuse is the leading producer of electronic and automotive fuses worldwide, and is extending its techonological leadership to innovative new fuses for the power equipment industry. In addition to its Des Plaines world headquarters, the company has manufacturing facilities in England, Switzerland and Mexico, as well as in Centralia, Arcola and Watseka, Ill. It also has sales, engineering and distribution facilities in the Netherlands, Singapore, and Farmington Hills, Mich., near Detroit.
 LITTELFUSE, INC.
 Consolidated Condensed Statements of Operations
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 Three months ended March 31 1993 1992
 Net sales $39,687 $37,144
 Cost of sales (A) 24,743 28,916
 Gross profit 14,944 8,228
 Selling, admin. and general expenses 8,554 7,574
 Amortization of intangibles 1,716 1,768
 Operating income (loss) 4,674 (1,114)
 Interest expense 1,661 2,172
 Other income, net 153 161
 Income (loss) before income taxes 3,166 (3,125)
 Income taxes 1,550 (439)
 Net income (loss) $ 1,616 $(2,686)
 Net income (loss) per share $.14 $(.27)
 (A) -- Cost of sales for the three months ended March 31, 1992, includes amortization of the one-time "fresh start" inventory write-up of $4,912.
 -0- 4/22/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Brace, VP, treasurer and CFO, or Art Skwerski, director - communications of Littelfuse, 708-824-1188/
 (LFUS)


CO: Littelfuse, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: CPR SU: ERN

GK -- NY035 -- 9285 04/22/93 10:14 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1993
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