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MEAD REPORTS IMPROVED THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS

 MEAD REPORTS IMPROVED THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS
 DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ --- Mead Corporation (NYSE: MEA)


today reported third quarter net earnings of $37.5 million, or 63 cents per share, up 48 percent compared to a year ago.
 Net earnings for the same period in 1991 were $25.3 million, or 43 cents per share.
 Net earnings for the first three quarters of 1992 were $54.5 million, or 92 cents per share, compared to a loss of $1.3 million, or 2 cents per share, for the first three quarters of 1991.
 This comparison reflects a number of previously reported special charges taken earlier in both years. Operating earnings for the first three quarters before these special charges were $1.64 per share in 1992 and 98 cents per share in 1991.
 "Strong performance by Mead's coated board, containerboard and electronic publishing businesses was largely responsible for a significant improvement in earnings," said Steven C. Mason, chairman and chief executive officer. "Most of Mead's businesses fared better this quarter, although depressed paper prices more than offset good operating performance at several of our mills."
 Northwood, Mead's jointly-owned Canadian affiliate, showed strong improvement over the prior year, when depressed prices and slack demand for northern softwood pulp had penalized earnings. Northwood's results for the third quarter benefited from improved pulp mill productivity, as well as higher prices for pulp and wood products and a weaker Canadian dollar.
 Mead's sales for the third quarter of 1992 were $1.255 billion, up nearly 4 percent from 1991 sales for the period, which were $1.211 billion. Sales for the first three quarters were $3.568 billion, compared to $3.485 billion in 1991.
 Mead's paper businesses continued to suffer from weak prices, particularly for publishing grades, although cost containment efforts and good production volumes helped to soften the negative impact.
 Earnings from Mead's packaging and paperboard segment were significantly higher than a year ago, chiefly due to higher production volume and lower costs for coated paperboard and strong operating performance by Mead's corrugating medium mill and container plants. Sales of coated natural kraft paperboard were higher than those of a year ago. While cool summer weather weakened demand in North American beer and soft drink markets, Mead Packaging division's worldwide sales increased over the prior year.
 Good cost control and higher sales volume, particularly in the business and financial markets, increased earnings from Mead Data Central, Inc., the company's electronic publishing subsidiary.
 Earnings from Mead's distribution and school and office products segment were flat compared to 1991. Gains from prior workforce reductions and other cost control measures at Zellerbach, Mead's distribution company, were largely offset by the School and Office Products division's provision for a loss on uncollectable receivables associated with the bankruptcy filing of a major retail customer.
 Mead's third quarter income statement also reflects the reclassification of certain expenses, none of which had an impact on net earnings.
 Income taxes applicable to partnership operations were reclassified from "Income Taxes" to "Equity in Net Earnings (Loss) of Jointly-Owned Companies." The aggregate amount of these taxes through the first three quarters of 1992 was $3.0 million, of which $1.2 million was related to the third quarter. Previous quarters have not been restated, since amounts were not material and net earnings were unchanged. Certain electronic publishing research expenses in the first two quarters of 1992 were also reclassified from cost of products sold to selling, administrative and research (SA&R) expenses.
 Third quarter SA&R expenses were 9 percent higher than a year ago, chiefly due to the reclassification of electronic publishing research expenses and provision for the full impact of the customer bankruptcy mentioned above. In addition, sales-related expenses were higher for Mead School and Office Products and Mead Data Central based on increased volumes.
 SUMMARIZED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
 (All dollar amounts in millions, except EPS)
 Third Qtr. Ended Three Qtrs. Ended
 09/27/92 09/29/91 09/27/92 09/29/91
 NET SALES $1,254.5 $1,210.8 $3,568.1 $3,484.5
 COST OF PRODUCTS SOLD 1,000.4 984.4 2,863.0 2,835.3
 GROSS PROFIT 254.1 226.4 705.1 649.2
 SELLING, ADMINISTRATIVE &
 RESEARCH EXPENSES 173.9 159.2 493.2 466.3
 OTHER EXPENSES 95.0
 EARNINGS FROM OPERATIONS 80.2 67.2 116.9 182.9
 OTHER REVENUES (EXPENSES)
 -NET 3.7 4.0 (5.9) 12.6
 INTEREST & DEBT EXPENSE (25.1) (28.7) (76.8) (86.9)
 EARNINGS FROM OPERATIONS
 BEFORE INCOME TAXES 58.8 42.5 34.2 108.6
 INCOME TAXES 21.3 13.8 17.4 38.6
 EARNINGS BEFORE EQUITY
 IN NET EARNINGS (LOSS)
 OF JOINTLY-OWNED COS. 37.5 28.7 16.8 70.0
 EQUITY IN NET EARNINGS (LOSS)
 OF JOINTLY-OWNED COS. - (3.4) 3.7 (12.6)
 EARNINGS BEFORE CUMULATIVE
 EFFECT OF CHANGE IN
 ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE 37.5 25.3 20.5 57.4
 CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF CHANGE
 IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE 34.0 (58.7)
 NET EARNINGS (LOSS) $ 37.5 $ 25.3 $ 54.5 $ (1.3)
 PER COMMON AND COMMON EQUIV. SHARE:
 EARNINGS BEFORE CUMULATIVE
 EFFECT OF CHANGE IN
 ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE $ 0.63 $ 0.43 $ 0.35 $ 0.98
 CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF CHANGE
 IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE 0.58 (1.00)
 NET EARNINGS (LOSS) $ 0.63 $ 0.43 $ 0.92 $ (0.02)
 AVERAGE COMMON AND COMMON
 EQUIVALENT SHARES
 OUTSTANDING (MM) (A) 61.7 58.6 59.0 58.6
 (A) Note: The number of shares used in the calculation of per-share data varies from period to period since stock options and convertible debentures are included in the calculations only for the periods in which they are dilutive; therefore, the sum of individual quarterly earnings per share may not equal the three- quarters computation.
 -0- 10/14/92
 /CONTACT: Sharon Williamson of The Mead Corporation, 513-495-3535/
 (MEA) CO: The Mead Corporation ST: Ohio IN: PAP SU: ERN


DA -- CL005 -- 9684 10/14/92 08:42 EDT
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