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STEPAN REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS UP 69 PERCENT

 STEPAN REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS UP 69 PERCENT
 NORTHFIELD, Ill., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Stepan Company


(AMEX: SCL) today reported significantly improved first quarter earnings.
 Net income for the first quarter rose 69 percent to $4,060,000, or 74 cents per share, up from $2,407,000 or 44 cents per share for the comparable quarter of 1991. Net sales were $107,404,000, up 5 percent from $102,366,000 for the previous year.
 "Surfactants, polymers and specialty products all recorded increased earnings," stated F. Quinn Stepan, chairman and president. "Earnings from surfactants, our core business which accounts for approximately 70 percent of sales revenue, contributed the majority of the increase. Both domestic and international surfactant operations recorded increased earnings as a result of increased volume and improved margins."
 The polymer products grtoup, which includes phthalic anhydride (P.A.) and polyurethane products, recorded a significant improvement in earnings.
 P.A. based polyols were the driving force behind the increase in earnings for this product group. This was primarily the result of improved margins. P.A. earnings were up modestly.
 Specialty products recorded a slight increase in earnings.
 Operating expenses increased 4 percent due to marketing and research and development expenses.
 Interest expense rose due to higher average debt levels as a result of the company's capital expenditures program.
 "This has been the most profitable first quarter in the company's history," stated Stepan. "All of our businesses, except for the Mexican oepration, are on target to our 1992 plans. This should be a very good year for the company."
 Stepan Company, headquartered in Northfield, Ill., is a leading producer of basic and intermediate chemicals used in household, industrial, personal care, agricultural and energy-related products. The stock is traded on the American and Midwest Stock Exchanges under the symbol SCL.
 STEPAN COMPANY
 STATEMENT OF INCOME
 (UNAUDITED - 000s OMITTED)
 THREE MONTHS ENDED
 MARCH 31,
 1992 1991 PERCENT
 CHANGE
 Net sales $107,404 $102,366 5
 Operating costs and expenses:
 Cost of sales 87,057 85,196 2
 Operating expenses 12,233 11,780 4
 Interest, net 1,736 1,605 8
 Total $101,026 $ 98,581 2
 Pre-tax income 6,378 3,785 69
 Provision for income taxes 2,318 1,378 68
 Net income $ 4,060 $ 2,407 69
 Net income per common share $.74 $.44 68
 Average shares outstanding 5,451 5,468 -
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: Walter J. Klein of Stepan, 708-446-7500/
 (SCL) CO: Stepan Company ST: Illinois IN: CHM SU: ERN


KD -- NY084 -- 8360 04/14/92 17:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1992
Words:423
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