Saturday, July 22, 2000

Tristate Earnings Reports

AK Steel earnings up 65 pecent

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Shares of Middletown's AK Steel jumped 811/4 cents Friday to $10.25 after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings due its mix of high-margin products and cost controls.

        For the three months ended June 30, AK said net income was $49.1 million, or 44 cents a share, up 65 percent from $29.7 million, or 27 cents a share, a year ago. The year-ago results included a charge of $11.7 million, or 11 cents a share, for debt refinancing.

        AK's latest quarterly results exceeded the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial by 7 cents a share.

        Operating profit was $115.6 million, or $68 a ton. The company said that was the best operating profit per ton performance since the fourth quarter of 1998.

        Higher-margin value-added steel shipments comprised 89 percent of the 1.7 million tons shipped in the quarter, up from 81 percent a year ago.

        AK Steel said revenues were a record $1.23 billion, up more than 10 percent from the prior year's $1.11 billion.

        In other reports:

        • NS Group Inc.: The Newport-based tubular steel maker reported a narrower loss for the fiscal third quarter as a result of higher volume and selling prices.

        For the three months ended July 1, the parent of Newport Steel Corp. in Wilder reported a net loss of $4.1 million, or 19 cents a share, vs. a net loss of $8.2 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago.

        Net sales grew to $106.8 million from $100.1 million a year ago. NS Group has said

        it expects to return to profitability in the fourth quarter.

        • General Cable Corp.: The Highland Heights cable maker, operating as BICCGeneral, reported a 15 percent increase in operating earnings in the second quarter.

        For the three months ended June 30, the company said pro forma earnings, excluding results of the energy cable business being sold, were $12.9 million, or 38 cents a share, vs. $12 million, or 33 cents a share a year ago.

        Revenues were $604 million, up 60 percent from the $376 million reported a year ago.

        This week, the company received European Union Competition Commission approval for sale of its energy cable business to Pirelli Cavi e Sistemi S.P.A., a deal announced in February.

        Including those operations, the company reported a net loss of $4.3 million, or 13 cents a share, vs. a profit of $13 million, or 36 cents a share, for the year ago period.

        • Multi-Color Corp.: The Cincinnati printer of consumer product labels said fiscal first-quarter operating earnings in creased 35 percent to $1.5 million from $1.1 million a year ago.

        For the three months ended June 30, Multi-Color said net income declined to $613,000, or 24 cents a share, after income tax expense of $409,000. A year ago, the company reported net income of $914,000, or 31 cents, but had no income tax expense because of operating loss carryforwards.

        Revenues were up only 1 percent to $14.2 million more than a year ago.

        • Chiquita Brands International: Lower operating costs and expense control from its fresh-products business helped Chiquita Brands International post a 58 percent gain in second-quarter profits, before an extraordinary item.

        In the past three months, Chiquita had net income of $11 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $601.5 million. That compared with earnings of $7.3 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $676.9 million during the second quarter of 1999.

        Including an extraordinary gain of $2 million from the prepayment of debt, Chiquita earned $13 million, or 13 cents a share.

        • Midland Co.: Double-digit revenue growth helped the Ame lia-based specialty insurance company post record second-quarter profits.

        The company earned $5.8 million, or 61 cents a share, up from $4.8 million, or 50 cents a share, a year ago. Midland's revenue totaled $132.4 million, up 14 percent from $116.3 million a year ago.

        Midland said it got strong revenue growth from its business that offers manufactured housing insurance as well as contributions from its fee-based businesses and credit life insurance.

        • Meridian Diagnostics Inc.: The medical test-kit maker said third-quarter profits rose 72 percent to $1.9 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with net earnings of $1.1 million, or 8 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year ago. Sales rose 6 percent to $14.3 million during the third quarter.

        The Cincinnati company's third-quarter earnings included a one-time after-tax charge of $339,000, or 3 cents a share, associated with the acquisition of Gull Laboratories in 1998.

        Mike Boyer, Jeff McKinney and Randy Tucker contributed to this report.


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