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Grace Posts $3.1-Million Loss in the First Quarter

W. R. Grace & Co., which is selling its retail outlets and its controlling stake in a sporting goods chain, said it lost $3.1 million in the first quarter against a year-earlier profit.

The company blamed the loss primarily on its fertilizer operations and said it came despite a 31% boost in earnings from its mainstay specialty chemical business.

The loss compared to 1985 first-quarter earnings of $35.1 million. However, that profit included a one-time gain of $38.2 million from Grace’s sale to the public of 44% of the stock in Herman’s Sporting Goods and the sale of certain oil and gas reserves.

Excluding the gain, first-quarter income for 1985 was $1 million, the company said.

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Revenue for the quarter rose 6% to $1.25 billion from $1.18 billion.

Grace is divesting its retail interests to concentrate on chemicals, natural resources and restaurants.

The company already has agreed to sell its 56% stake in Herman’s to Dee Corp. PLC, a British company, for $227 million. And last week it announced plans to sell its remaining 562 retail stores for about $500 million to a group of investors.

Grace said operating income from its specialty chemical business jumped to $30.4 million from $23.3 million a year ago.

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But lower sales and poor pricing conditions in the phosphate fertilizer business were the main reasons for the $11.9 million loss in its agricultural chemicals group, Grace said. The same group had a $4.8 million loss in the first quarter of 1985.


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