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UNITOR POSTS STRONG EARNINGS IN A DEPRESSED MARKET

    KOLBOTN, Norway, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Unitor Ships Service AS (UNITOR) today reported third-quarter net income of NOK 27 million ($3.7 million), a 14-percent increase over the NOK 23 million of third quarter of 1992, according to Karsten Houm, managing director.  Earnings per share were NOK 1.54 ($.21 per ADR) as compared with NOK 1.37 a year ago.  Operating revenues for the three months ended Sept. 30, 1993, were NOK 405 million ($55.8 million), up 21 percent from the NOK 334 million reported a year ago.
    For the nine-month period, net income was NOK 87 million ($12.0 million), an increase of 13 percent from the NOK 77 million in 1992.  Earnings per share also improved, rising from NOK 4.51 to NOK 5.02 ($.69 per ADR) this year.
    The Unitor Group's operating revenues for the first three quarters of 1993 came to NOK 1,175 million ($161.8 million) against NOK 1,067 million in the same period last year.
    Pre-tax income was higher than last year's, at NOK 121 million ($16.7 million), against NOK 104 million in 1992.  The improvement of NOK 17 million ($2.3 million), or 16 percent, caused pre-tax earnings as a percent of sales to rise from 9.8 percent in 1992 to 10.3 percent in the first three quarters of 1993.
    Operating income for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, improved substantially to NOK 137 million ($18.9 million) compared with NOK 86 million in the first nine months of 1992.  The 59-percent improvement of NOK 51 million ($7.0 million) was due largely to the high average-dollar exchange rate during the period, as well as better margins resulting from changes in the product mix, combined with an improved cost structure, Houm said.
    "The decline in net interest and other financial items resulted in an expense of NOK 16 million ($2.2 million) against a gain of NOK 18 million last year," Houm said.  "The NOK 34-million difference is primarily due to the realization, to date, of a net loss on foreign exchange future contracts of NOK 18 million when compared to a gain of NOK 20 million on similar contracts in the same period of 1992.  Other financial items contributed NOK 2 million ($0.3 million) during the first nine months of 1993."
    "Consumption of maintenance products per ship is still low -- approximately 6 or 7 percent below the level established prior to the spring of 1992," the managing director continued.  "Higher insurance premiums for poorly maintained ships and stricter requirements for technical, environmental and safety standards should contribute to longer-range improvement, although so far this has not been reflected in higher consumption.  In part, this is due to the marine shipping industry's current low earnings level."
    "In the somewhat longer run, we expect these circumstances to generate growth in the market," Houm said.  "If this occurs at the same time as the anticipated improvement in the freight rate level, the market should grow substantially."
    UNITOR supplies high-quality maintenance products and equipment to the international merchant fleet of over 23,000 vessels.  It has been listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange since 1978 and its ADRs have traded on the "Pink Sheets" (Symbol: 3UNSSY) since April 1991.  Each UNITOR ADR is the equivalent of one Norwegian UNITOR share.
    Currency exchange rate:  U.S. $1 equals NOK 7.2624
    NOK -- Norwegian krone.
                                 UNITOR
                  Consolidated Statement of Operations
               Three Months Ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992
                        (In millions; unaudited)
                                                                Percent
                                    1993               1992      Change
    Operating revenues       $55.8   NOK   405.1   NOK   333.6    21.4
    Cost of goods             25.0         181.5         165.2     9.9
    Gross profit              30.8         223.6         168.4    32.8
    Depreciation               2.4          17.4          12.8    35.9
    Other operating expenses  21.9         159.3         134.5    18.4
    Operating income          $6.5   NOK    46.9   NOK    21.1    12.2
    Net interest and other
     financial expenses
     (income)                  1.4           9.8         (10.6)     nm
    Income before taxes        5.1          37.1          31.7    17.0
    Income taxes               1.4          10.4           8.2    26.8
    Net income                $3.7   NOK    26.7   NOK    23.5    14.0
    Earnings per share       $0.21   NOK    1.54   NOK    1.37    12.4
    Weighted average number
     of shares outstanding    17.3          17.3          17.2     0.5
    Currency translation rate:  $1 equals NOK 7.2624
                                 UNITOR
                  Consolidated Statement of Operations
                Nine Months Ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992
                        (In millions; unaudited)
                                                                Percent
                                    1993               1992      Change
    Operating revenues      $161.7   NOK 1,174.8   NOK 1,066.6    10.1
    Cost of goods             72.8         529.0         516.0     2.5
    Gross profit              88.9         645.8         550.6    17.3
    Depreciation               6.6          48.1          38.9    23.6
    Other operating expenses  63.4         460.6         425.7     8.2
    Operating income         $18.9   NOK   137.1   NOK    86.0    59.4
    Net interest and other
     financial expenses
     (income)                  2.2          16.1         (18.5)     nm
    Income before taxes       16.7         121.0         104.5    15.8
    Income taxes               4.7          33.9          27.2    24.6
    Net income               $12.0   NOK    87.1   NOK    77.3    12.7
    Earnings per share       $0.69   NOK    5.02   NOK    4.51    11.3
    Weighted average number
     of shares outstanding    17.3          17.3          17.2     0.5
    Currency translation rate:  $1 equals NOK 7.2624
    -0-             10/27/93
    CONTACT:  Philip L. Thomas of The P.L. Thomas Group, 312-906-8060, for Unitor Ships Service AS
    (3UNSS) CO:  UNITOR SHIPS SERVICE AS IN:  MAR SU:  ERN


-- DE006 -- X392 10/27/93
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Date:Oct 27, 1993
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