SOMERVILLE, N.J. -- Hoechst Celanese Corp. said textile fibers sales increased slightly last year over 1992, boosted by strong worldwide demand for acetate filament, particularly in the fashion industry.

The strength in acetate offset lower sales of polyester.

Fiber and film products, which include textile fibers as well as technical fibers and polyester resin and film, recorded a 39.3 percent gain in operating profits in the year, rising to $415 million from $298 million.

Sales in the division in the year dipped 2.7 percent, to $3.1 billion from $3.2 billion.

Film and fiber sales in the final quarter increased 3.4 percent, to $875 million from $846 million. The company did not break out fourth-quarter operating profits for the segment.

Overall, Hoechst Celanese said earnings increased 15 percent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1, to $69 million from $60 million. Sales improved 3.8 percent, to $2.1 billion from $2.03 billion.

In the year, earnings before special charges increased 4.5 percent, to $140 million from $134 million. After charges from accounting changes in both years, Hoechst's full-year bottom line showed a $101 million profit, versus a loss of $7 million.

Sales slid 2.1 percent, to $6.9 billion from $7.04 billion.

Ernest H. Drew, president and chief executive officer, said volume for most of the company's products was strong in the year, but prices, especially for chemicals, were depressed by competitive pressures and a weak world economy.

"We expect to see improved markets in 1994 as the U.S. economy continues to rebound," Drew said.

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