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ONEIDA LTD. ADOPTS ACCOUNTING CHANGE FOR RETIREES' HEALTH CARE BENEFITS

 ONEIDA, N.Y., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of Oneida Ltd. (NYSE: OCQ) today announced the company will incur a one- time charge of $55.4 million against its 1992 first-quarter results, due to the adoption of a new accounting standard for retirees' health care benefit costs. The company, in preparing for this accounting change, previously announced in November that it was considering recording a charge for that amount within the current fiscal year, before the adoption deadline in the 1993 first quarter.
 Chairman William Matthews said the non-cash charge will result in an after-tax reduction in net income of $34.6 million, or $3.43 per share. It will eliminate Oneida's previously reported first-quarter profit of $2.1 million, and create a first-quarter loss of approximately $32.6 million.
 In addition to the one-time charge, Mr. Matthews said, the accounting change will further reduce Oneida's previously announced net income for the first nine months of its fiscal year by another $1.7 million, or 17 cents per share. Overall, the company's restated results for the first nine months will now reflect a loss of $29.4 million, or $2.94 per share, compared to previously reported net income of $6.9 million, or 68 cents per share. For the upcoming fourth quarter, the company estimates the accounting change will reduce net income by $600,000, or 6 cents per share.
 The new accounting standard mandates that all companies must account for the cost of retirees' health care benefits on an accrual basis, similar to the way pension costs are recorded. Previously, retiree health care costs had been recognized as each claim was paid, on a cash basis.
 Oneida is taking steps to reduce its costs incurred for retiree health care benefits, Mr. Matthews said. Changes planned in the company's retiree health care package will significantly reduce the accounting standard's impact on fiscal 1993 results, he said.
 Here is a summary of Oneida's 1992 quarterly results -- as previously reported, and now restated for the accounting change:
 ONEIDA LTD.
 Previously Reported Restated
 Net Earnings Per Net Earnings Per
 Income Share Income (Loss) Share (Loss)
 1992
 Qtr. Ending
 April 1992 $2,061,000 $.20 ($33,118,000) ($3.29)
 July 1992 1,993,000 .20 1,439,000 .14
 October 1992 2,853,000 .28 2,299,000 .22
 -0- 12/15/92
 /CONTACT: David A. Gymburch, Corporate Public Relations, Oneida Ltd., 315-361-3271/
 (OCQ)


CO: Oneida Ltd. ST: New York IN: HOU SU:

JG -- CL013 -- 7165 12/15/92 11:56 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 3, 1992
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