Harsco Corporation Updates Earnings Outlook for the First Quarter

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES


HARRISBURG, Pa., March 23, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Worldwide industrial services and products company Harsco Corporation (NYSE:HSC) announced today that earnings for the quarter ending March 31, 2001 will be below previous expectations, primarily due to a steeper than expected decline in U.S. manufacturing and continuing softness in the North American steel industry. As a result, diluted earnings per share for the first quarter 2001 are now expected to be in the range of $0.38 to $0.40 excluding special charges, compared with a current First Call consensus range of $0.44 to $0.48. The revised earnings estimate excludes special charges of about $0.15 per share for the Company's proposed exit from a minority interest, headcount reductions, asset write-downs, and other reorganization costs.

"Although uncertainty about the duration of the external factors driving this quarter's results is causing us to be more cautious, we have not given up on achieving our stated target of 10% EPS growth for the year," said Harsco Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Derek C. Hathaway. "Continued strong performance from our international services businesses, recently increased steel capacity utilization in the U.S., lower domestic interest rates, and the reorganization actions we are taking will provide a foundation for improvement over the remainder of 2001. In addition, we also expect to realize unplanned earnings contributions from the three business units we previously thought would be sold in the first half of the year.

"We were prepared for a soft first quarter, but the sharper decline in demand for U.S. mill services, gas and fluid control equipment, industrial grating, and railway track maintenance products and services is resulting in below-expectation performance. We have taken timely actions to address the current conditions. While these actions adversely affect our first quarter financial performance, they will better position the Company for the remainder of the year. More specific guidance will be provided when our quarterly results are released on April 19, 2001."

The nature of Harsco's operations, and the many countries in which it operates, subject it to changing economic, competitive, regulatory, and technological conditions, risks, and uncertainties. In accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Harsco provides the following cautionary remarks regarding important factors which, among others, could cause future results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, expectations and assumptions expressed or implied herein. These include statements about our management confidence and strategies for performance; expectations for new and existing products, technologies, and opportunities; and expectations for market segment and industry growth, sales, earnings, and other financial performance measures.

These factors include, but are not limited to: (1) changes in the worldwide business environment in which the Company operates, including general economic conditions, particularly in the mill service, infrastructure and industrial gas markets; currency exchange rates; interest rates; and capital costs; (2) changes in governmental laws and regulations, including taxes; (3) market and competitive changes, including pricing pressures, market demand and acceptance for new products, services, and technologies; (4) effects of unstable governments and business conditions in emerging economies; and (5) other risk factors listed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports. The Company does not intend to update this information and disclaims any legal liability to the contrary.

Harsco Corporation is a $2 billion worldwide industrial services and products company serving the infrastructure development, steel, railway transportation, gas and energy industries. The company employs more than 20,000 people in 38 countries. Additional information about Harsco can be found at www.harsco.com.



        

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