STRONG SALES BOOST WELLMAN FOURTH QUARTER

SHREWSBURY, N.J. — Propelled by higher polyester selling prices and stronger sales, Wellman Inc. posted fourth quarter profits of $20.1 million, or 60 cents a share, against a loss of $1.2 million after special items a year ago.
The year-ago quarter was hurt by a one-time after-tax charge of $11.5 million largely related to the write-down of slow-moving inventory. Sales climbed 19.5 percent to $250.8 million from $209.9 million.
The firm attributed the strong fourth quarter results to “increased profitability at the domestic and European fiber businesses, resulting from increases in polyester fiber selling prices in the second half of 1994 and higher sales volumes.”
In the year ended Dec. 31, net earnings came to $64.8 million, or $1.94 a share, against $31.4 million, or 96 cents, a year ago. The 1993 net earnings reflect various nonrecurring items totaling a charge of $15.8 million, or 48 cents a share, after taxes. Excluding these, the firm noted it posted a 35 percent increase in 1994 profits.
Sales rose 11.2 percent to $936.1 million from $842.1 million.
Wellman noted that the strong results in the year reflected higher sales at Wellman’s fiber businesses in addition to the increased selling prices and lower costs. “Improved profitability, especially at the European fibers operation, lowered Wellman’s overall tax rate in 1994,” the company added, and higher profits from a new plastic bottle resin operation contributed to the year’s gain in earnings.
Thomas M. Duff, president and chief executive officer, also cited the role of reduced costs in the year’s improvement, and said the business expansions and cost reductions “should lead to future benefits.” — Fairchild News Service

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