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NORTHWESTERN STEEL AND WIRE COMPANY REPORTS 19% INCREASE IN SALES AND 64% INCREASE IN OPERATING PROFIT FOR FIRST QUARTER

 STERLING, Ill., Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Northwestern Steel and Wire Company (NASDAQ-NMS: NWSW) today reported the following:
 Net sales for the company for the three-month period ended Oct. 31, 1993 were $156.0 million as compared to net sales of $130.7 for the same period in the prior fiscal year, an increase of $25.3 million or 19%. Operating profit for the period increased from $5.4 million to $8.9 million, an increase of $3.5 million or 64%. The company reported net income of $3.2 million or $.13 per share for the first quarter ended Oct. 31, 1993. This compares to the first quarter of fiscal 1993 when the company recorded a net loss of $40.3 million or $2.21 per share, which included the cumulative effect of the accounting change for SFAS No. 106 of $39.8 million or $2.19 per share. These increases represent the sixth consecutive quarter of year-to-year improvement in sales and operating profit.
 Robert N. Gurnitz, the company's president and chief executive officer, said, "The company's principal market, steel construction, has recently experienced modest improvement. As a result of such improvement together with continuing gains in market share, the company's unit volume shipments increased by 14% compared to the prior- year first quarter. Pricing on the company's principal raw material steel scrap, continues to escalate to record levels. These escalating costs have led to several price increases. The company expects to continue to aggressively service its customers' needs and recover increased costs through improved operating efficiencies and, as required, further price increases."
 On June 17, 1993, the company completed an initial public offering of its common stock and the issuance of 9.50% senior notes due 2001. These transactions, among other beneficial effects, reduced aggregate indebtedness, resulting in lower interest expense of $1.2 million during the first quarter of fiscal 1994 compared to the prior-year first quarter. Mr. Gurnitz stated that, "Continued productivity gains were reflected in improvement in the company's operating margin to 5.7% compared to 4.1% in the prior-year first quarter. The company has a program to pursue continuous improvements both in daily operating activity and through investments in strategic capital programs. The growth of quality products and services to our customers are key to continuing improved profitability and shareholder value."
 Mr. Gurnitz further said, "As the national economy and the steel construction market improves, our company is now positioned to benefit from its inherent operating leverage and financial flexibility. Our emphasis on servicing our customers and producing the highest quality products at the lowest possible cost are being well-received as shown by our sales and earnings increases, and we are committed to significant ongoing profit improvements."
 NORTHWESTERN STEEL AND WIRE COMPANY
 Consolidated Statements of Income
 (In thousands, except per-share data and tonnage data)
 Three months ended Oct. 31, 1993 1992
 Net sales $ 156,043 $ 130,660
 Cost and operating expenses:
 Cost of goods sold
 (excluding depreciation) 139,198 116,801
 Depreciation 5,371 5,429
 Selling and administrative 2,617 3,034
 Total cost and operating
 expenses 147,186 125,264
 Operating profit 8,857 5,396
 Other income and expenses:
 Interest expense 4,694 5,899
 Interest and other income (92) (10)
 Total other income and
 expenses 4,602 5,889
 Income (loss) before income
 taxes and cumulative effect
 of accounting change 4,255 (493)
 Provision for income taxes 1,013 ---
 Income (loss) before
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change 3,242 (493)
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change --- (39,778)
 Net income 3,242 (40,271)
 Income (loss) before
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change
 per share $.13 $(.04)
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change
 per share --- (2.19)
 Net income (loss)
 per share .13 (2.21)
 Net tons shipped 442,950 387,268
 -0- 12/10/93
 /CONTACT: Karen Freres of Northwestern Steel and Wire Company, 815-625-2500, ext. 2275/
 (NWSW)


CO: Northwestern Steel and Wire Company ST: Illinois IN: MNG SU: ERN

CK-MP -- NY005 -- 2521 12/10/93 09:33 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 10, 1993
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