W.R. Grace has strong 4th quarter

Sales of home roofing, Davison products push net income to $21.2 million

January 30, 2002|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

W.R. Grace & Co. said yesterday that it made $21.2 million in the fourth quarter, due in part to strong sales of residential roofing material and products made at its Baltimore-area Davison Chemical division.

Grace's net income, which amounted to 32 cents per diluted share, compares with a loss of $182.6 million, or $2.80 per share, reported for the corresponding quarter of 2000.

The Columbia-based company reported an operating profit of $47.2 million in the three months that ended Dec. 31, up from $35.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2000.

The final quarter of 2000 included charges of $283 million for asbestos-related litigation and a pending tax matter. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in April to shield itself from asbestos-related claims.

Sales rose 9.5 percent in the quarter to $429.1 million, up from $391.9 million.

Paul J. Norris, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said that all business lines contributed to the sales and profit improvements during the quarter.

"Core results were significantly better than last year's fourth quarter, when we were battling a surprise downturn in the economy and high energy costs," he said.

Robert M. Tarola, Grace's senior vice president and chief financial officer, attributed a 51 percent jump in operating income in the company's performance chemicals segment to strong sales of waterproofing material used primarily when applying new roofing shingles to existing homes.

He said the dry weather in November and December accounted for much of the roofing material sales increase that helped the division to post an 8.3 percent jump in sales to $211 million.

Tarola credited higher demand for catalyst products used in refining oil into gasoline for the strong quarter of the Baltimore-based Davison Chemical division.

Davison sales rose 10.7 percent to $218.1 million. Operating income of $33.9 million was 22.8 percent higher than in the final quarter of 2000.

For the full year, Grace reported an operating profit from its core operations of $187.5 million, about even with 2000 results.

Net income for all of 2001 was $78.6 million, equal to $1.20 a share. This compares with a net loss of $89.7 million, or $1.34 a share, in the previous year.

Shares of Grace rose 3 cents yesterday to close at $2.26.

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