Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Tristate Business Summary

Hotels take luster off Frisch's quarter
        Frisch's Restaurants Inc. reported higher sales and earnings from continuing operations in the third quarter, but flat net earnings per share after factoring in losses at its two hotels.

        The Big Boy chain said revenues in the quarter ended March 5 rose 13.1 percent to $37.5 million from $33.2 million in the same period a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations rose to $1.21 million in the quarter, vs. $1.16 million a year ago.

        Revenues do not include sales from Frisch's Clarion and Quality hotels, which are for sale, because Frisch's reported the operations from the hotels as discontinued business. When the losses from these businesses are included — $353,000 in 2000 and $191,000 in 1999 — Frisch's reported net earnings of $855,000 in the third quarter, compared with $968,000 a year before. That comes out to 16 cents a share in both quarters.

        The reason the share price is the same is because Frisch's has been buying back stock, leaving fewer shares in the weighted average this year vs. last year: 5.5 million vs. 5.9 million.

AK Steel listed among "most admired companies'
        Middletown's AK Steel was named to Fortune's 1999 “most admired companies” list as well as being included on the Fortune 500 for the first time.

        AK Steel ranked 372 on the 1999 Fortune 500 as a result of its September acquisition of Armco Inc.

        AK Steel joins nine other Greater Cincinnati companies on the list including Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Federated Department Stores, Ashland, NCR, Cinergy, Mead, American Financial and Fifth Third Bancorp, also a newcomer to the list.

Cummins to exceed analysts' projections
        Cummins Engine Co., the largest maker of high-power diesel engines, expects to earn about $1.09 a share in the first quarter, more than analysts' estimates, on generator-equipment and filtration sales.

        Revenue for this year will be unchanged from 1999's $6.64 billion, chairman and chief executive Tim Solso said Tuesday at the company's annual meeting. Cummins was forecast to earn $1.03 a share in the quarter, the average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.

        Cummins' shares have risen 5.7 percent in the past 12 months as the Columbus, Ind.-based company benefited from lower costs and more profitable heavy-duty truck engines such as the ISX and Signature 600. Cummins and other suppliers have relied on sales of power-generation equipment and other machinery as demand for heavy-truck engines began to slow in the middle of last year.

        The company had net income of $24 million, or 63 cents a share, in the first quarter of 1999 on revenue of $1.51 billion.

Exhibit maker to build warehouse and plant
        A company that makes trade-show exhibits and museum displays plans to build a $1.4 million plant and warehouse near Springfield-Beckley, Ohio, Municipal Airport.

        The Exhibit House Inc. said Tuesday it will move from nearby Dayton to the new plant. The company now has 20 employees and expects to hire 25 more workers within the next five years.

        “The new facility will enable us to more efficiently manufacture and manage projects while providing adequate space to accommodate future needs,” said Dennis Owens, president of Exhibit House.

— From staff and wire reports


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Industry Notes: Retail
- Tristate Business Summary