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Oil-Dri Reports 37 Percent Increase In First Quarter Earnings

CHICAGO, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Oil-Dri Corporation of America (NYSE: ODC) today reported sales of $40,525,000 for the first quarter ended Oct. 31, 1996, an increase of 3 percent over the $39,308,000 reported a year ago. Net income for the three months was $1,930,000 or $0.29 per share, an increase of 37 percent over the $1,413,000 or $0.21 per share earned in the same period of the prior year.

"The benefits of last year's investment in our consumer business and the new products launch were evident in the quarter," said Richard M. Jaffee, chairman and chief executive officer. "Additionally, specialty product sales were strong and industrial and environmental profitability was up."

CONSUMER SEGMENT ... CAT'S PRIDE(R), LASTING PRIDE(TM), CLOROX, FAVORITE PRODUCTS

"Total consumer products sales were up 5 percent in the quarter and grew to 61 percent of total company sales. Reduced expenses associated with our consumer products have increased profitability. Cat's Pride(R) Scoopable "Stretch Jug" and Cat's Pride(R) Kat Kit(TM) disposable cat litter tray continued to increase market share and dollar sales. Cat litter sales to the grocery and mass merchandiser segments of the market, which represent an estimated 88 percent of the retail category, were up 17 percent over last year. Our business with The Clorox Company and sales of our Canadian subsidiary, Favorite Products, Ltd., were up as well.

"Sales to Sam's Club were down approximately $2,000,000 in the quarter compared to the prior year. Sam's has assessed their cat litter needs and chosen Cat's Pride(R) Premium as their coarse cat litter along with a private label scoopable which we will not manufacture. We are particularly gratified to see the growth in the consumer products division in light of the decreased revenues with this account.

SPECIALTY SEGMENT ... AGSORB(R), PURE-FLO(R), ULTRA-CLEAR(R)

"Agricultural and fluids purification segment sales were up 17 percent in the quarter and represented 23 percent of total company sales. Agsorb(R) carrier sales were up 37 percent during the three months. A strong spring planting is anticipated by our agricultural crop protection customers. Pure- Flo(R) bleaching adsorbents increased sales by 17 percent. The company continues to focus on global opportunities for its specialty products.

INDUSTRIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SEGMENT ... OIL-DRI(R), OIL-DRI TRANSPORTATION COMPANY

"Sales for this segment were down 14 percent in the quarter and represented 17 percent of total company sales. However, the division continues to improve profitability by reducing costs and focusing on higher margin products.

"The balance sheet remains strong. Current ratio is 2.9 to 1 and book value has increased to $11.71 per share. Capital expenditures were modest and lower than depreciation and amortization. The company is focusing on cost control and investment in productivity improvements. During the quarter, the company also continued its stock repurchase program, buying 66,400 shares of Oil-Dri stock.

"Looking forward, we are pleased that the Cat's Pride(R) brand is increasing market share and that last year's investment in marketing and advertising is paying off in increased sales and profitability. We anticipate a strong agricultural season and continued profit contribution from the Fluids Purification Group and the Industrial and Environmental Division."

This release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the company's expected performance for future periods and actual results for such periods may materially differ. Such forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties, which include, but are not limited to, competitive factors in the grocery, mass merchandiser and club markets; the level of success of new products; changes in planting activity and overall agricultural demand; changes in market conditions and the overall economy, and other factors detailed from time to time in the company's annual report and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission.

Oil-Dri Corporation of America is the leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing sorbent products for consumer, industrial, environment, agricultural and fluid purification markets.
 OIL-DRI CORPORATION OF AMERICA
 Consolidated Statement of Income
 (unaudited)
 First Quarter Ended Oct. 31,
 Percent of Percent Of
 1996 Sales 1995 Sales
 Net Sales $40,525,138 100.0% $39,307,934 100.0%
 Cost of Sales 28,233,253 69.7% 27,648,886 70.3%
 Gross Profit 12,291,885 30.3% 11,659,048 29.7%
 Operating Expenses 9,210,474 22.7% 9,312,281 23.7%
 Operating Income 3,081,411 7.6% 2,346,767 6.0%
 Interest Expense 467,195 1.2% 490,161 1.2%
 Other Income (Expense) 86,794 0.3% 94,575 0.2%
 Income Before Income Taxes 2,701,010 6.7% 1,951,181 5.0%
 Income Taxes 770,707 1.9% 538,293 1.4%
 Net Income $1,930,303 4.8% 1,412,888 3.6%
 Average Shares Outstanding 6,720,704 6,840,079
 Net Income Per Share $0.29 $0.21
 Consolidated Balance Sheets
 (unaudited)
 As of Oct. 31,
 1996 1995
 Current Assets $48,827,032 $49,844,721
 Property, Plant and Equipment 57,811,981 58,325,155
 Other Assets 11,444,805 8,848,090
 Total Assets $118,083,818 $117,017,966
 Current Liabilities $ 17,027,731 $ 15,964,190
 Long-Term Liabilities 22,978,242 23,222,043
 Stockholders' Equity 78,077,845 77,831,733


Total Liabilities and
 Stockholders' Equity $118,083,818 $117,017,966
 Book Value Per Share Outstanding $11.71 $11.35


Additions to Property, Plant
 and Equipment $1,503,092 $863,670


Depreciation and Amortization
 Charges $1,927,452 $1,821,537


SOURCE Oil-Dri Corporation of America
 -0- 11/22/96


/CONTACT: Kelly McGrail of Oil-Dri Corporation of America, 312-706-3281/

(ODC)

CO: Oil-Dri Corporation of America ST: Illinois IN: ENV AGR SU: ERN

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Date:Nov 22, 1996
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