U.S. Can Announces Record First Quarter Results /
Earnings Up 78% Oak Brook, Ill. (ots-PRNewswire) - U.S. Can Corporation's (NYSE: USC) first quarter earnings increased 78% over the first quarter of last year. U.S. Can Chairman and CEO Paul W. Jones said, "I am pleased to report record first quarter earnings of $5.6 million or $0.41 per share versus first quarter 1998 of $3.1 million or $0.23 per share." He cited higher operating margins, improved productivity and lower interest as the primary contributors to the record quarter. Overall we experienced a significant increase in gross profit ratios over 1998. Cash flow for the quarter continued to be strong. The $15 million of cash flow generated was used to further reduce debt by $9 million and the remainder increased the Company's cash balances. Mr. Jones stated that, "We are encouraged by the results of our first quarter and look forward to continuing improvement over 1998 for the balance of the year. The continued focus on improved earnings is in-line with our objective of increasing shareholder value." For the quarter ended April 4, 1999, U.S. Can reported net sales of $185 million, which was in-line with the Company's plan, but a decrease of 4% from the first quarter of 1998. Increased aerosol sales in Europe were offset by lower domestic aerosol, custom and specialty, and paint sales. Gross margin of 14.0% in the first quarter of 1999 was a seventeen percent improvement over the 12.0% gross margin reported in the first quarter of 1998. First quarter 1999 margins reflect improved performance in Europe and productivity improvements in the domestic operations. Operating margin of 9.5% also compares favorably to the 7.8% reported in the first quarter of 1998. Interest expense of $7.6 million in the first quarter of 1999 was a reduction of 12% from the corresponding period of 1998. Continued focus on cash flow, working capital and capital programs are the main contributors to the decrease. Diluted earnings per share of $0.41 in the first quarter of 1999 compares to $0.23 reported in the first quarter of 1998. U.S. Can Corporation is a leading manufacturer of steel containers for personal care, household, automotive, paint and industrial products in the United States and Europe, as well as plastic containers in the United States. Certain statements in this release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Federal securities laws. Such statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which may cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different than future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in this release. By way of example and not limitation and in no particular order, known risks and uncertainties include the timing of, and net proceeds realized from, divestitures; the timing and cost of plant closures; the level of cost reduction achieved through restructuring; the success of new technology; changes in market conditions or product demand; loss of important customers; changes in raw material costs; and currency fluctuations. In light of these and other risks and uncertainties, the inclusion of a forward-looking statement in this release should not be regarded as a representation by the Company that any future results, performance or achievements will be attained. ots Original Text Service: U.S. Can Corporation Internet: http://www.newsaktuell.de Contact: John L. Workman Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Can Corporation (USA) 630-571-2531 Web site: http://www.uscanco.com
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