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MORTON INTERNATIONAL REPORTS 74 CENTS FOR FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 1993 EARNINGS PER SHARE

 MORTON INTERNATIONAL REPORTS 74 CENTS FOR
 FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 1993 EARNINGS PER SHARE
 CHICAGO, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Morton International today reported net sales of $538.1 million and net income of $36.2 million, up 13 percent and 6 percent over the first quarter of last year. Earnings per share of 74 cents compared to 70 cents last year. While current year earnings benefited in part from a slightly lower effective income tax rate of 36.5 percent versus 37.5 percent in the prior year, the loss of rental income related to the former corporate headquarters building more than offset this benefit.
 Charles S. Locke, Morton's chairman and chief executive officer, said, "In spite of the current economic environment, which continues to adversely affect some of our specialty chemical product lines, Morton recorded increased sales and profits. Our success was due to the solid performance of our salt business, improvement in many of our chemical product lines and the continuing rapid growth of our airbag business."
 Specialty chemicals sales and profits for the quarter increased 6 percent over the same quarter last year. Product lines primarily contributing to the improved results were polymer systems, dyes, packaging and industrial adhesives, automotive coatings, performance chemicals and plastic additives. These gains, as well as higher favorable foreign exchange impact on sales and profits, more than offset lower sales and profits in certain coatings markets and in advanced materials. Sales of electronic materials improved over the first quarter of fiscal 1992; however, earnings continued to be adversely impacted by the economy and price competition. Last year's first quarter also included $4.5 million net sales for the food and cosmetic colors business sold in August 1991.
 Morton Automotive Safety Products' sales were up 50 percent and profits increased 30 percent compared with the first quarter of fiscal 1992. The addition of driver module business from Mazda, increased shipments of passenger modules to General Motors and driver modules to Chrysler, as well as increased driver inflator deliveries to Nissan, Mercedes and Toyota accounted for most of the quarter-over-quarter improvement in sales and profits. Profit margins were adversely affected by preproduction expenditures related to model year 1994 orders.
 In the first quarter of fiscal 1993, the salt group's sales were up 7 percent and earnings were up 4 percent over the same quarter last year. The current quarter reflects the timing of shipments for the upcoming ice control season, with a more normal level of early season shipments compared with the prior year. The first quarter fiscal 1993 also reflects increased demand for Morton's water conditioning products and products sold to the U.S. food processing and chemical markets.
 Morton International is a Chicago-based manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals, automotive inflatable restraint systems and salt.
 Comparative results through Sept. 30:
 (in millions, except per share data)
 Three Months Ended
 Sept. 30,
 1992 1991
 Net sales $ 538.1 $ 475.0
 Interest, royalties and sundry income 4.3 4.0
 Total 542.4 479.0
 Deductions from income:
 Cost of products sold 368.4 322.9
 Selling, administrative and
 general expense 89.7 75.8
 Research and development expense 16.1 14.4
 Interest expense 8.5 8.7
 Amortization of goodwill 2.7 2.6
 Income taxes 20.8 20.5
 Total 506.2 444.9
 Net income $ 36.2 $ 34.1
 Net Income per share $ .74 $ .70
 Average shares outstanding (in thousands) 49,126 48,969
 Business Segment Information Three Months Ended
 Sept. 30,
 1992 1991
 Sales
 Specialty Chemicals $ 320.4 $ 301.3
 Salt 106.8 99.9
 Automotive Safety Products 110.9 73.8
 Total $ 538.1 $ 475.0
 Profit(A)
 Specialty Chemicals $ 45.0 $ 42.6
 Salt 20.1 19.3
 Automotive Safety Products 14.1 10.9
 Total $ 79.2 $ 72.8
 (A) Business segment profit is before income taxes, interest income, interest expense and allocation of corporate administrative expenses.
 -0- 10/15/92
 /CONTACT: Nancy A. Hobor of Morton, 312-807-2424/
 (MII) CO: Morton International ST: Illinois IN: CHM SU: ERN


KD -- NY095 -- 0609 10/15/92 16:14 EDT
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Date:Oct 15, 1992
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