Grace Suffers Loss

W. R. Grace & Co. said Tuesday that it lost $559.9 million in the fourth quarter, mainly due to asset writedowns, staff-reduction costs and a $221-million provision for a loss on the planned sale of its fertilizer business.

The loss compared to profit of $44.7 million in the final quarter of 1985. Sales rose 5.3% to $1.06 billion from $1 billion.

For all of 1986, Grace lost $472.3 million on sales of $3.73 billion. In 1985, the company earned $146.9 million, or $2.82 a share, on sales of $3.55 billion.

The proposed sale of Grace's fertilizer business, which lost $84.1 million before taxes in 1986, is the final step in its restructuring.

Grace said the latest loss included writedowns of $275 million in oil and gas services industries, $57.2 million in specialty chemicals assets, a $36.6-million charge for staff-cutting costs and a $221-million provision for the loss expected from the sale of its fertilizer business.

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