Two of the nation's largest chemical manufacturers rode against the trend of generally higher corporate profits being reported for the first quarter by announcing lower results yesterday.
Union Carbide Corp. blamed a 3 percent decline in profits on the severe winter weather, the prolonged coal strike and currency losses. However, it said sales for the period were the highest of any quarter in the companys history.
Monsanto Co. attributed its lower results to a foreign currency translation loss of 35 cents a share, mostly from the strengthening of the Swiss and Belgian francs and Japanese yen.
Fox the three months ended March 31, Union Carbide's earnings ebbed to $78.9 million ($1.22 a share) on sales of $1.82 billion compared with $81.5 million 1.32) on sales of $1.68 billion.
The company said the worldwide saless gain of 8 percent reflected strong gains in the specialty products, gases and related products, and bat terries. Sales in all industry segments, except chemicals and plastics, were above those of the same period last year.
Monsantos profits fell to $135.6 million ($3.67 a share) on sales of $1.34 billion compared with $147.9 million ($3.95) on sales of $1.31 billion.
R. J. Reynolds Industries Inc. announced first-quarter net rose to $95 million ($1.84 a share) from $88.1 million ($1!71) a year earlier.
The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company said revenues climbed to $1.56 billion from $1.55 billion.
Reynolds attributed the improved quarterly earnings to lower interest costs for its domestic and international tobacco business, and to a lower effective tax rate.
Earnings to Kraft Inc., the giant food products company, rose 21 percent to $47.9 million ($1.71 a share) from $38.5 million ($1.38) on sales of $1.4 billion against $1.3 billion for the same period a year earlier.
The company said currency translations improved first-quarter profits by 15 cents a share compared to a 4 cent-a-share loss for the first quarter of 1977.
The 3M Co. said profit soared a record 37.6 percent on a 15.9 percent gain in sales for the first quarter.
Net income rose to $119.3 million ($1.03 a share) compared with $86.7 million (75 cents) in the first quarter of 1977. Sales climbed to a record $1.084 billion from $935.2 million.
Raymond R. Herzog, board chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the first quarter results "reflect a continuation of good unit-volume growth and further improvement in profit margins."
He said product demand was particularly strong in the United States, "but overseas affiliates also did well, especially considering the somewhat less favorable economic environment in which they have been operating."
The effect of foreign currency changes increased the firm's net income by about $7.2 million (6 cents), a spokesman said. This compared with a decrease of about $8.8 million (8 cents) a year earlier.
Despite a drop in first-quarter shipment from the same 1977 period, the Aluminum Company of America increased to $53.9 million ($1.53 a share) against $48.9 million ($1.40) a year earlier.
First-quarter sales and operating revenues were $938.2 million compared with $844.2 million in 1977.
Shipments for January through March were 4309,000 tons, or 17,000 tons less than the 447,000 tons shipped in the first quarter of 1977. Shipments in the fourth quarter of 1977 were 392,000 tons.
"Our results were adversely affected by the four-month-long coal strike, severe cold weather and continued cost increases," Alcoa Chair- man W.H. Krome George said at the annual shareholders meeting.
Alcoa President William Renner said although he didn't expect second-quarter shipments to be appreciably higher than the year-earliier period, Alcoa shipments would probably rise for the year as a whole.
"Aluminum demand continues to be quite favorable," George added.
For the first time, the aluminum industry in 1977 captured more than 50 percent of the beverage can market, Renner said. And the aluminum content in autos is expected to rise to an average of 127 pounds in 1979 models, compared with 114 pounds in 1978 models, he said.
The Aerospace industry is another especially strong market, Renner said. "Our capacity to produce aircraft skin sheet and hard alloy extrusions is sold out for 1978, and we are booking business now for delivery in 1979," he added.
The tow executives said major is sues facing Alcoa and the aluminum industry continue to be escalating labor and material costs, the cost and availablity of energy, money needed for growth and the increasing role of government in business.
Lockheed Corp.'s earnings for the first quarter fell sharply due to the effects of an aircraft workers' strike.
Chairman Roy Anderson reported profits of $3.2 million (13 cents a share) compared with $12.1 million (81 cents for the same period a year ago. Sales declined to $706 million from $833 million.
"Because of the strike at our major operating companies in the fourth quarter of 1977 - with the resultant adverse effect on alcraft deliveries in early 1978 - the sizeable drop in first-quarter earnings was expected," Anderson said. Although the strike was settled in early January, its impact on assembly line operations was felt throughout the first quarter, he said.
The company delivered nine aircraft in the quarter compared with 33 a year ago. The production rates of the C-130 Hercules and the S-3A Viking also were lower.
Anderson said the strke carryover will have some impact on second-quarter earnings, but not nearly as severe as the first quarter.
Bristol-Myers Co., producer of pharmaceuticals and health care products, said sales and earnings for the first quarter were the best on record.
Richard Gelb, chairman, told the stockholders' meeting the healthy growth in domestic sales was spearheaded by "strong" demand for antibiotics, nutritional products and medicinal items. The international division, he said, had its highest quarterly sales growth in two years.
Earnings rose to $40.53 million (63 cents a share) against $35.28 million (55 cents) in the same quarter last year. Sales climbed to $573.84 million from $538.21 million.
Texas Instruments Inc. of Dallas said its sales advanced 21 percent and profits climbed 12 percent for the first quarter.
President J. Fred Bucy said earnings rose to $30.7 million ($1.35 a share) from $27.3 million ($1.20) a year earlier. Sales increased to $557.6 million from $461.9 million.
"Over the past five years, TI's rate of productivity improvement has slightly more than offset the combined impact of wage and benefit increases - which have averaged 9.2 percent per year - and price decreases - which ave averaged 6.4 percent a year. This is the measure of the payoff for TI's capital investments, which totaled $199 million in 1977, and are projected to be $300 million in 1978."
Southern Pacific Co.'s profits plummeted 40 percent to $16.6 million (62 cents a share) from 27.4 million ($1.02). Revenues increased to $530.2 million from $511.7 million.
Fruehauf Corp. said its profits rose 34 percent to $13.8 million ($1.14 a share) in the3 million (86 cents) a year ago.
Revenues rose 14 percent from $421 million to $480 million.
Robert D. Rowan, president, said translation of accounts into dollars from foreign currencies hurt earnings by 25 cents a share, about the same as in the 1977 quarter.
Rowan attributed the record profits to strong demand for the company's truck trailers and other parts. He said sales and earnings for the full year also should set records.
SCM Corp. also reported lower profits for its third quarter, which ended March 31. The company said profits eased to $5.1 million (55 cents a share) from $6.4 million (68 cents). Sales rose to $365.8 million from $339.4 million.
Warner Communications Inc., said profits rose 13 percent due to strong profits rose 13 percent due to strong performances by its recorded music, filmed entertainment and publishing operations.
Profits rose to $20.4 million $1.41 a share on sales of $312.5 million compared with $18.03 million ($1.36) on sales of $253.2 million.
Zenith Radio Corp. said its first-quarter earnings plunged more than 80 percent because of its decision to reduce distributor inventories of color television sets.
The company reported profits of $1.1 million (6 cents a share) compared with $6.0 million (32 cents) a year ago. Sales fell to $214 million from $231 million.
National Airlines tripled its profits to $6.57 million (77 cents a share) in the March quater, up from $2.16 million (25 cents) a year ago, as sales rose tp $163.85 million from $134.69 million.
For the nine-months, national earned $8.1 million (94 cents) on sales of $434.93 million, up from $259,000 (3 cents) on sales of $364.29 million.
President E. F. Dolansky said the bitter winter in the North created a juge surge of Florida traffic for National and caused the turnaround. tr for add thirteen
Combine Communications Corp. of Phoenix said its earnings climbed 30 percent in the first quarter to $4.1 million (62 cents a share) from $3.1 million (49 cents) a year ago.
Revenues jumped 34 percent to $69.467 million from $51,724 million a year ago. The company attributed 20 percent of the revenue increase to acquisitions.
Included in the results was a nonoperating, after-tax expense of $204,000 (9 cents a share) resulting the proposed WJLA-TV of Washington acquisition, which was terminated during the first quarter.