FLEMING REINS COSTS, HIKES EARNINGS 155% IN QUARTER

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fleming Cos. here said carefully managed margin improvements and expense controls propelled the company to a 155% increase in fourth-quarter earnings. r share for the quarter were 27 cents in 1996, up 145% over the 11 cents per share for the fourth quarter in 1995. Net sales for the quarter were $3.87 billion, down 7% from $4.14 billion for the same period in 1995.The company noted

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fleming Cos. here said carefully managed margin improvements and expense controls propelled the company to a 155% increase in fourth-quarter earnings.

r share for the quarter were 27 cents in 1996, up 145% over the 11 cents per share for the fourth quarter in 1995. Net sales for the quarter were $3.87 billion, down 7% from $4.14 billion for the same period in 1995.

The company noted that for the fiscal year, there was a "shortfall" in sales in its food distribution operations, due in part to Fleming's divestiture of 62 nonstrategic stores. The company also invested in four new stores, completed 41 remodels and made several major retail systems improvements in 1996.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 28, 1996, Fleming said net earnings were $26.69 million, down 36% from $42 million in 1995. Earnings per share were 71 cents in 1996, compared with $1.12 in 1995. Net sales were $16.49 billion in 1996, off 6% from $17.5 billion in 1995.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the fourth quarter were an estimated $105 million, an increase of $8 million from $97 million in 1995. For 1996 overall, EBITDA was an estimated $435 million based on adjusted earnings, compared with $449 million from adjusted earnings in 1995, the company said. Fleming also reduced its total debt to $1.6 billion in 1996, a $193 million reduction against an original payback schedule of $73 million in 1996.

4TH-QUARTER RESULTS

Qtr Ended 12/28/96 12/30/95

Sales $3.87 billion $4.14 billion

Change - 7%

Net Income $10.3 million $4.0 million

Change + 155%

Inc/Share 27 cents 11 cents

52 Weeks 1996 1995

Sales $16.49 billion $17.50 billion

Change - 6%

Net Income $26.69 million $42.0 million

Change - 36%

Inc/Share 71 cents $1.12

After adjusting for the $20 million litigation charge related to the Premium Sales settlement and other items, 1996 adjusted earnings per share would have been $1.01.