Ferro Corp forecasts 1Q revenue and earnings growth

Performance materials manufacturer Ferro Corporation announced 14 April 2003 that it expects 1Q 2003 revenue and earnings to be significantly better than 1Q 2002. The Company expects fully diluted ear…

Performance materials manufacturer Ferro Corporation announced 14 April 2003 that it expects 1Q 2003 revenue and earnings to be significantly better than 1Q 2002. The Company expects fully diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be between USD 0.22 and USD 0.24, compared with USD 0.14 per share in the 1Q 2002, as income from continuing operations is anticipated to increase more than 90%. The 1Q 2003 estimate excludes pre-tax charges of USD 0.8 million related principally to severance and integration costs. The 1Q 2002 is adjusted for similar pre-tax charges of approximately USD 1.1 million. Revenue from continuing operations is expected to grow by approximately 10% for the Company as a whole, led by increases in volume for Electronics, Color and Glass Performance Materials, Specialty Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. The Company also benefited from a stronger Euro compared with the 1Q 2002. Earnings for the Coatings segment are anticipated to improve significantly due to increased volumes and cost savings related to the integration of the dmc2 businesses, which were acquired in September 2001. The Performance Chemicals segment earnings are expected to be slightly less than the same quarter in 2002 as increased volumes and higher prices were offset by rises in raw material costs. Hector R. Ortino, chairman and chief executive, said, “The first quarter 2003 will mark the fourth consecutive quarter of earnings growth compared with prior year periods. Most of our key end markets improved after a very soft fourth quarter 2002, but our visibility remains limited. I am encouraged that our Electronic Materials business, which has been hit the hardest during the recent recession, rebounded to show significant improvement compared with the prior year period. The overall economic environment has improved, but the rate of recovery and sustainability is still subject to improving global economic conditions, which is being challenged by the war in Iraq.” Ortino added, “Despite these challenging conditions, we remain confident we will experience significant earnings growth in 2003 due to an improved cost structure and the full year impact of the actions taken during 2002 to further integrate the dmc2 business. Until we are certain a sustainable recovery is underway, we will remain conservative in our management of working capital, discretionary spending and debt reduction.”