Crown lost $6.2 million But company notes recent improvement

April 24, 1992|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Crown Central Petroleum Corp. has nearly finished its corporate cost-cutting, but the downturn is still causing the company pain, Chairman Henry A. Rosenberg Jr. said yesterday.

The sour economy, repairs to refineries and the lack of severe winter weather all contributed to a $6.2 million loss for the first three months of 1992, the company announced at its annual shareholders meeting.

Crown sold $322 million worth of petroleum products in 1992's first quarter, more than 13 percent less than in the same period of 1991.

But officials said the company's profit margins have started to improve this spring Mr. Rosenberg said, the company's cost-cutting and restructuring will save $25 million a year.

This past year, Crown has closed 119 gasoline stations in rural areas and laid off 855 employees. The company also replaced most of its top-level managers and cut its Baltimore-based headquarters staff by about 60 people.

Mr. Rosenberg noted the financial burdens of federal anti-pollution and worker-safety laws but said there was a financial silver lining for his company The expense of repairing underground gasoline tanks and improving refineries to meet the federal Clean Air Act is likely to push some marginal refinery and service station operators out of business, which would reduce the oversupply that is driving prices down, Mr. Rosenberg said.

Paul Ebner, vice president for marketing support services, said the company will add a convenience store, a car wash or both to every new station it builds because "margins are so razor-thin we can't make it selling purely gasoline."

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