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UNIVAR CORP. ANNOUNCES IMPROVED FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS

 KIRKLAND, Wash., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Univar Corp. (NYSE: UVX; PSE) a multinational leader in distribution services, today reported higher earnings for its first quarter ended May 31, 1993.
 Net earnings for the quarter were $3.3 million or 17 cents per share, on sales of $488 million. This compares with earnings of $2.5 million or 13 cents per share, on sales of $468.4 million in the same quarter last year.
 James W. Bernard, president and chief executive officer, noted, "Increased net earnings reflect a strong improvement in Canadian operations resulting from the combination of increased sales and decreased operating expenses."
 The corporation experienced improved sales growth in both its United States and Canadian markets. European sales, when measured in local currencies, also improved. However, due to currency devaluations averaging 17 percent in the markets served by Univar, European sales expressed in U.S. dollars declined. Canadian sales have benefited from a combination of increased agricultural chemical sales (resulting from favorable weather conditions), successful efforts at expanding market share, and growth in the Canadian economy.
 Gross margin percentage was 14.4 percent for the quarter, down slightly from 14.6 percent in the first quarter last year. An increase in gross margin percentage in the United States was offset by a decrease in margin in Canada, primarily due to the impact of record agricultural chemical sales which carry a lower gross margin percentage.
 Operating expenses for the first quarter were $62 million or 12.7 percent of sales, compared with $60.4 million or 12.9 percent of sales for the first quarter of the prior year. The reduction in operating expenses expressed as a percentage of sales is due to the continuing success of the corporation's cost containment programs.
 Bernard also noted, "In addition to favorable earnings performance, the corporation continued to experience strong cash flows (as measured by net income plus depreciation and amortization) which totaled $10.1 million for the first quarter this year, compared with $7.4 million for last year's first quarter."
 Included in the results for the quarter, as an adjustment to the corporation's tax provision, is the effect of adopting SFAS 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes," as of March 1, 1993. This resulted in a cumulative adjustment to reduce deferred taxes in the amount of $0.4 million, or 2 cents per share.
 Univar Corp., headquartered in Kirkland, serves industry through three subsidiaries, Van Waters & Rogers Inc. in the United States, Van Waters & Rogers Ltd. in Canada, and Univar Europe N.V. in Europe.
 UNIVAR CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Statements of Income
 (In thousands, except share data)
 Three Months
 Ended May 31 1993 1992
 Sales $487,951 $468,432
 Cost of Sales 417,552 400,133
 Gross Margin 70,399 68,299
 Gross Margin Percentage (percents) 14.4 14.6
 Operating Expenses 61,980 60,371
 Income from Operations 8,419 7,928
 Other Income (Expense):
 Interest expense (3,519) (3,521)
 Other income - net 290 452
 Income Before
 Tax Provision & Minority Interest 5,190 4,859
 Tax Provision 1,721 2,222
 Income Before Minority Interest 3,469 2,637
 Minority Interest (196) (182)
 Net Income $ 3,273 $ 2,455
 Net Income per Share $ 0.17 $ 0.13
 Weighted Average Number
 of Shares Outstanding 19,668 19,700
 -0- 6/21/93
 /CONTACT: Gary E. Pruitt, vice president - finance and treasurer, 206-889-3400, or Karen Weber-Millstein, corporate communications, 206-889-3475, both of Univar/
 (UVX)


CO: Univar Corp. ST: Washington IN: CHM SU: ERN

JH-SW -- SE003 -- 3884 06/21/93 07:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 21, 1993
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