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UNIVAR ANNOUNCES EARNINGS, SALES UP IN SECOND QUARTER

 UNIVAR ANNOUNCES EARNINGS, SALES UP IN SECOND QUARTER
 KIRKLAND, Wash., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Univar Corp. (NYSE: UVX; PSE), North America's leading chemical distributor, today reported that results of operations for the second quarter ended Aug. 31, 1992, represent continuing improvement in the corporation's performance.
 Net earnings for the quarter were $2,940,000, or 15 cents per share, on sales of $464,094,000. This compares with a loss of $8,568,000, or 43 cents per share, on sales of $367,442,000 for the same quarter of the prior year. Included in the loss for last year was a pre-tax restructuring charge of almost $10 million related to an early retirement program and associated costs.
 Current period operating results reflect the corporation's European and Canadian acquisitions made during the second half of the prior year. Increased sales were primarily attributable to these acquisitions.
 Gross margin percentage for the second quarter increased to 14.7 percent compared to 14.0 percent for the same period a year ago. The increase is due to a combination of improving margins in North American markets and higher margins realized on European sales.
 As a result of the prior-year restructuring and other cost-control programs, the corporation has continued to reduce operating expenses as a percentage of sales in its U.S. operations. During the current quarter, U.S. operating expenses declined by $5.2 million compared with the prior-year quarter and reached a four-quarter low of 13.5 percent of sales compared with 15.2 percent for the same quarter last year. With the addition of new European and Canadian operations, total worldwide operating expenses increased from $53.8 million for the prior-year quarter to $61.1 million for the current quarter.
 Interest expense increased to $4 million for the second quarter compared with $2.4 million in last year's second quarter. The increase is attributable to acquisitions in Europe and Canada and the completion and installation of the UVX 2000(TM) computer system.
 James W. Bernard, president and chief executive officer, noted: "Our continued quarterly improvement in results has also resulted in continued strong cash flows. Improved net earnings, coupled with increased non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization from acquisitions and our new computer systems, have resulted in cash flows at near-record levels."
 The corporation also announced that it has reached settlements in principle with its insurance carriers in its lawsuit which sought recovery for certain environmental expenses. While specific terms of the settlement agreements are confidential, the corporation expects to receive approximately $13.5 million, which is in addition to settlements received in prior years, and net of litigation costs. The settlements cover historical and ongoing cleanup costs at various sites in the United States. The settlements are not reflected in the second-quarter financial statements.
 Univar Corp., headquartered in Kirkland, is a service business engaged in the distribution of a broad range of chemicals to industry throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
 UNIVAR CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
 (In thousands expect per-share data)
 Three Months Six Months
 Ended Aug. 31: 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Sales $464,094 $367,442 $932,526 $744,472
 Cost of sales 395,848 315,949 795,981 642,975
 Gross margin 68,246 51,493 136,545 101,497
 Operating expenses 61,110 53,767 121,481 99,621
 Restructuring charges -- 9,870 -- 9,870
 Income (loss) from
 operations 7,136 (12,144) 15,064 (7,994)
 Interest expense (4,030) (2,369) (7,551) (5,050)
 Other income net 1,255 397 1,707 891
 Income (loss) before taxes
 and minority interest 4,361 (14,116) 9,220 (12,153)
 Tax provision (benefit) 1,260 (5,548) 3,482 (4,658)
 Income (loss) before
 minority interest 3,101 (8,568) 5,738 (7,465)
 Minority interest in
 Univar Europe (161) -- (343) --
 Net income (loss) $ 2,940 $ (8,568) $ 5,395 $ (7,495)
 Net income (loss) per
 share $ 0.15 $ (0.43) $ 0.27 $ (0.40)
 Weighted average
 number of shares
 outstanding 19,705,417 19,729,093 19,702,656 18,781,893
 -0- 9/24/92
 /CONTACT: Gary E. Pruitt of Univar, 206-889-3400/
 (UVX) CO: Univar Corp. ST: Washington IN: CHM SU: ERN


LM-JH -- SE005 -- 3214 09/24/92 15:17 EDT
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Date:Sep 24, 1992
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