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MORTON INTERNATIONAL REPORTS EARNINGS PER SHARE OF 72 CENTS FOR SECOND QUARTER FISCAL 1993

 CHICAGO, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Morton International today reported that net sales rose 7 percent to $545.2 million and net income increased slightly to $35.4 million in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992. Earnings per share for the second quarter were $.72 versus last year's $.71 per share.
 For the first six months of fiscal year 1993, net income was $71.6 million, or $1.46 per share, 4 percent ahead of the prior year's $1.41 per share. Sales were $1,083.3 million, an increase of 10 percent compared to the first six months of last year. While both the current second quarter and year-to-date earnings benefited from a slightly lower effective tax rate (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.
 "Morton has seen signs that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover," said Charles S. Locke, Morton's chairman and chief executive officer. "However, being an international company, the growing weakness of the European and Japanese economies affected our businesses which sell into those economies. Therefore, the better performance of many of our domestic businesses was masked by the weaker than expected sales of products outside the United States."
 Locke added, "The company's second quarter earnings were also adversely impacted by significantly lower ice control salt tonnage shipped in Canada due to the mild winter weather."
 Sales of Morton's specialty chemicals in the second quarter increased 3 percent, while earnings were down 5 percent. Several product lines improved quarterly comparisons, particularly all the coatings product areas which are largely sold in the United States. Although price competition and the German and Japanese economies continue to affect Morton's electronic materials business, its second quarter sales were equal to last year and earnings showed some improvement because of various cost control measures. The earnings improvements were more than offset by lower sales and earnings in polymer systems, advanced materials, adhesives and performance chemicals. All of these product lines have significant European business. Morton's specialty chemicals were also negatively affected by foreign exchange rates.
 Morton Automotive Safety Products' sales and profits for the second quarter of fiscal 1993 increased 47 percent and 39 percent, respectively, over the same period in the prior year. In spite of lower automobile passenger car sales, Morton continues to benefit from driver and passenger side airbag inflator introductions into new cars sold in the United States.
 Second quarter sales of the salt group decreased 6 percent and profits declined 8 percent compared with the same period last year. The primary cause for the decline in sales and profits was the mild December weather, especially in Canada, compared to a year ago. Partially offsetting the ice control decrease was a slight increase in sales in non-ice control markets including the U.S. food processing and North American chemical markets.
 Morton International is a Chicago-based manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals, automotive inflatable restraint systems and salt.
 MORTON INTERNATIONAL
 Comparative Results Through Dec. 31
 (in millions, except per share data)
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Net sales $ 545.2 $ 508.4 $1,083.3 $ 983.4
 Interest, royalties
 and sundry income 4.9 4.3 9.2 8.3
 Total 550.1 512.7 1,092.5 991.7
 Deductions from income:
 Cost of products sold 377. 349.2 745.9 672.1
 Selling, administrative and
 general expense 87.6 82.4 177.3 158.2
 R & D expense 18.2 14.3 34.3 28.7
 Interest expense 8.4 8.4 16.9 17.1
 Amortization of goodwill 2.6 2.7 5.3 5.3
 Income taxes 20.4 20.9 41.2 41.4
 Total 514.7 477.9 1,020.9 922.8
 Net income $ 35.4 $ 34.8 $ 71.6 $ 68.9
 Net Income per share $ .72 $ .71 $ 1.46 $ 1.41
 Average shares outstanding
 (in thousands) 49,182 48,933
 MORTON INTERNATIONAL
 Business Segment Information
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Sales
 Specialty chemicals $ 295.3 $ 287.6 $ 615.7 $ 588.9
 Salt 131.9 140.6 238.7 240.5
 Automotive safety products 118.0 80.2 228.9 154.0
 Total $ 545.2 $ 508.4 $1,083.3 $ 983.4
 Profit (A)
 Specialty chemicals $ 30.0 $ 31.5 $ 75.0 $ 74.1
 Salt 27.3 29.9 47.4 49.2
 Automotive safety products 19.7 14.1 33.8 25.0
 Total $ 77.0 $ 75.5 $ 156.2 $ 148.3
 (A) Business segment profit is before income taxes, interest income, interest expense and allocation of corporate administrative expenses.
 -0- 01/18/93
 /CONTACT: Nancy Hobar of Morton International, 312-807-2424/
 (MII)


CO: Morton International ST: Illinois IN: CHM SU: ERN

AH -- NY066 -- 6015 01/18/93 17:03 EST
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Date:Jan 18, 1993
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