Bethlehem Steel Corp., the No. 2 U.S. steel producer, yesterday reported 1977 losses of $448 million but said it believes it has turned the corner and is headed toward better profits.
Bethehem said it was "confident that the improved results of operations for the fourth quarter mark a turning point" in restoring adequate profitability to its steelmaking business.
Bethlehem has been hit especially hard during the current slump in the steel industry, and has closed several plants and laid off tens of thousands of workers in an effort to improve its profit picture.
Fourth-quarter profits totalled $19.2 million (43 cents a share), just under half the year-ago period's $39.7 million (91 cents). Revenues climbed 9.6 percent to $1.36 billion from $1.24 billion.
For the year, Bethlehem's results refected the massive write-down on plant closings and layoffs inaugurated last summer. Bethlehem's 1977 loss of $448.2 million ($10.27 against a 1976 profit of $168 million ($3.85). Revenues for the year were nearly flat - $5.41 billion, 2 percent above 1976's $5.30.
The steel maker noted that its an-billion.
Annual results included a pretax charge against income of $750 million - the largest writedown ever taken by a U.S. corporation - as a result of shutting down several facilities.
The company warned that its cut-backs may not be over. It said it would "continue to monitor all operations very closely and to take whatever additional steps may be necessary to reduce costs and improve efficiency."
Kraft Inc., a producer of prepared foods, reported increased of 13.4 percent in the fourth quarter and 5.2 percent for the year.
The company said higher margins, a recovery in its foreign earnings and a lower tax rate were the main reasons for the gains. The volume of margarine, salad dressing, citrus products, prepared dinners, confections and specialty chemicals rose last year, but cheese volume was up only slightly.
Kraft's fouth-quarter profits totalled $34.544 mmillion ($1.24) against $30,448 million ($1.09) a year ago. Revenues were $1.36 billion, up 8.8 percent from $1.25 billion a year ago.
For the year, Kraft's profits totalled $154.115 million ($5.51) against $135,650 million ($4.86) in 1976. Revenues rose 5.2 percent to $5.24 billion from $4.98 billion.
General Foods Corp., whose earnings were hurt earlier in the year by falling coffee volume and prices, earned 77 cents a share in its third quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 74 cents a year ago. Net income was $38.52 million on a 14 percent sales gain to $1.37 billion compared with $36.82 million a year earlier on sales of $1.21 billion.
For nine months, General Foods had lower earnings of $117.7 million ($2.36 a share) on sales of $3.83 billion compared with $134.53 million ($2.70) on sales of $3.46 billion.
Chairman James L. Ferguson said coffee sales volume continues to be disappointing but this has been offset to some extent by the sales of powdered soft drinks and other grocery product lines.
Phillip Morris Inc., a cigarette and industrial combine, earned $5.60 a share in 1977 against $4.47 a share a year earlier. Forth-quarter profit was $1.41 a share, up from $1.13.
Net income for the year was $34.9 million on sales of $5.2 billion compared with $265.57 million in 1976 on sales of $4.29 billion. Net for the final quarter was $84.21 million on sales of $1.5 billion compared with $67.03 million on sales of $1.16 billion.
Weyerhaeuser Co. a manufacturer of lumber and paper products, reported decreases of 22 percent in fourth-quarter profits and 0.6 percent for the year.
Fourth-quarter profits were $66.5 million (50 cents a share), down from the year-ago period's $85.7 million (65 cents). Sales rose by 16 percent to $854.4 million from $737.1 million.
Profits for the year came to $303.9 million ($2.30), of from 1976's $306 million ($2.32). Sales were $3.28 billion, up 14.6 percent from 1976's $2.86 billion.
Honeywell Inc. reported profit increases of 12.7 percent for the fourth quarter and 28.3 percent for 1977.
Honeywell reported fourth-quarter profits of $48.648 million ($2.32 a share) against the year-ago period's $43.165 million ($2.07) as revenues rose by 13.3 percent to $828.8 million from $731.2 million.
Profits for the year totalled $145.124 million ($6.90) against $113.053 million ($5.50) in 1976. Revenues rose by 15.5 percent to $2.90 billion from $2.51 billion.
Celanese Corp., a producer of petro-chemical fibers and plastics, had sharply higher earnings for the final 1977 quarter although earnings were flat for the year.
The company earned $15 million ($1.01 a share) in the final quarter compared with $9 million (62 cents) a year earlier. Sales were up 13 percent to $576 million from $509 million.
For the year, the company earned $70 million ($4.70) on sales of $2.32 billion compared with $69 million ($4.67) on sales of $2.12 billion in 1976.
Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.'s fourth-quarter loss widened to $4.9 million from $2.8 million in the 1976 fourth quarter.
The steel maker ended 1977 with a $25.6 million loss compared with a 1976 profit of $3.2 million (5 cents a share).
Sales increased to $239.2 million in the latest period from $193.7 million in the fourth quarter of 1976. Full year sales were $966 million compared with $931.2 million in 1976.