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MORTON INTERNATIONAL SECOND QUARTER EPS UP 15 PERCENT TO 71 CENTS

 MORTON INTERNATIONAL SECOND QUARTER EPS UP 15 PERCENT TO 71 CENTS
 CHICAGO, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Morton International (NYSE: MII) today reported net sales rose 8 percent to $508.4 million and net income increased to $34.8 million in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991. Earnings per share for the second quarter were $.71 vs. last year's $.62, a 15 percent increase.
 For the first half of fiscal year 1992, net income was $68.9 million, or $1.41 per share, 7 percent ahead of last year's $1.32 per share. Sales were $983.4 million, also 7 percent ahead of sales for the first six months of last year.
 "We are pleased with our results, especially in light of the difficult economic environment," said Charles S. Locke, chairman and chief executive officer of Morton International. "Certain chemical product lines continue to be affected by the economy, but their weakness has been offset by the excellent sales and earnings performances of our salt and airbag businesses."
 Sales of Morton's specialty chemicals declined 1 percent but profits increased 7 percent in the second quarter. The sale of Morton's food and cosmetic colors business in August 1991 was primarily responsible for the sales decline during the second quarter. Also contributing to the decline were lower sales volumes in electronic materials and advanced materials. However, several product lines showed sales and profit increases including water-based polymers, dyes, industrial chemicals and additives, organic specialties, extrudable resins and powder coatings.
 Automotive safety products sales were up 42 percent and profits increased 90 percent over last year's second quarter results. Production of passenger airbag inflators for Mercedes and General Motors combined with continued shipments of several new models of Honda inflators contributed significantly to the improved sales and profits in the quarter. Increased shipments of modules (inflators, bags and steering wheel covers) to Chrysler and additional Toyota, Nissan and Mercedes inflator business also helped the quarterly results.
 Salt sales were up 14 percent while profits increased 21 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991. Both sales and profits benefited primarily from higher ice control tonnage shipped during the quarter as compared to last year's second quarter which was affected by mild winter weather. Sales of Morton Salt's table salt and water conditioning products were also up in this year's second quarter as a result of higher demand for both products.
 Net income for the quarter and first half of fiscal 1992 was also affected by a higher effective tax rate. The tax rate for the six months ended Dec. 31, 1991, was 37.5 percent versus last year's 35.5 percent.
 Morton International is a Chicago-based manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals, salt and automotive inflatable restraint systems.
 MORTON INTERNATIONAL
 Comparative Results
 (In millions, except per-share data)
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 Dec. 31 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Net sales $508.4 $470.8 $983.4 $922.7
 Interest,
 royalties and
 sundry income 4.3 5.4 8.3 11.4
 512.7 476.2 991.7 934.1
 Deductions
 from income:
 Cost of
 products sold 349.2 332.3 672.1 641.7
 Selling, admin.
 and general
 expense 82.4 70.7 158.2 142.0
 Research and
 development
 expense 14.3 15.3 28.7 28.8
 Interest expense 8.4 8.9 17.1 17.5
 Amortization of
 goodwill 2.7 2.6 5.3 5.2
 Income taxes 20.9 16.3 41.4 35.1
 Total 477.9 446.1 922.8 870.3
 Net income 34.8 30.1 68.9 63.8
 Net income
 per share $.71 $.62 $1.41 $1.32
 Average shares
 outstanding
 (in thousands) 48,933 48,390
 Business Segment Information
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 Dec. 31 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Sales
 Specialty
 Chemicals $287.6 $290.5 $588.9 $597.2
 Salt 140.6 123.8 240.5 220.3
 Inflatable
 restraint
 systems 80.2 56.5 154.0 105.2
 Total 508.4 470.8 983.4 922.7
 Profit(A)
 Specialty
 chemicals 31.5 29.4 74.1 73.3
 Salt 29.9 24.8 49.2 41.0
 Inflatable
 restraint
 systems 14.1 7.4 25.0 13.9
 Total 75.5 61.6 148.3 128.2
 (A) -- Business segment profit is before income taxes, interest income, interest expense and allocation of corporate administrative expenses.
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Nancy A. Hobor of Morton International, 312-807-2424/
 (MII) CO: Morton International ST: Illinois IN: CHM SU: ERN


CK -- NY090 -- 0714 01/16/92 16:39 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1992
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