Eastman Kodak Co. yesterday reported a 27 percent drop in profits on near-level sales in the first quarter and top company officials blamed the decline on the overvalued U.S. dollar.
Net income slipped 26.9 percent to $115.2 million, or 50 cents a share, from $157.8 million, or 64 cents a share, in 1984's quarter. Earnings from operations fell 24 percent to $206.5 million from $271 million in the first quarter last year.
Worldwide sales were $2.13 billion, down slightly from $2.14 billion in the first quarter a year ago.
Chairman Colby Chandler and President Kay Whitmore said moderate sales increases in the United States and slight volume gains outside the country were more than offset by the adverse impact of the overvalued U.S. dollar.
"The artificially high value of the U.S. dollar continued as the most damaging factor affecting Kodak earnings," Chandler and Whitmore said in a statement.
The two top officers said the earnings were hurt by lower selling prices for Eastman Chemicals, increased expenses, additional charges for depreciation and higher research and development spending.
The lower cost of silver and other raw materials and higher product volume helped prevent a more serious drop in earnings, the executives said.
"For the balance of 1985, we look forward to good gains in volume based on continued growth in demand for Kodak products and services. However, we continue cautious about short-term earnings," they said.
"The overvalued U.S. dollar restricts our pricing flexibility and makes it more difficult to offset costs associated with the drive to maintain our strong position in existing markets while moving aggressively into newer fields," the company said.
* General Foods Corp. said its profit for the latest quarter fell 10.3 percent despite a 4.8 percent sales gain.
The company, which is based in White Plains, N.Y., said it had a profit of $104.7 million, or $2.18 a share, in its fourth fiscal quarter ended March 30, compared with earnings of $117.3 million, or $2.26 a share, a year ago.
Net sales rose to $2.35 billion from $2.24 billion.
For its full fiscal year, General Foods its profit rose 2.5 percent to $324.9 million, or $6.61 a share, from $317.1 million, or $6.10 a share, a year ago.
Net sales rose 4.9 percent to $9.02 billion from $8.6 billion.
The company said sales advanced because of higher volumes, substantial new product activity and several acquisitions in the United States and overseas.
It said the increases more than offset the effect of the strong dollar and the absence of revenue from the Gaines pet food business sold in June 1984 to Anderson, Clayton & Co. of Houston.
An accounting change involving how the company treats its advertising and promotion spending reduced fourth-quarter results by $17 million.
For the year, the latest results included a $98.3 million pretax gain on the sale of Gaines, a $60 million purchase of Oroweat Foods Co. and a $21 million provision for restructuring international operations.
James L. Ferguson, chairman and chief executive, said the company had lower than anticipated earnings results from powdered beverages and the meat operations of Oscar Meyer in 1985.
Operating earnings from packaged grocery goods were down from the previous year because of the absence of the pet foods income, investment in new products and newly acquired companies, and the strength of the dollar overseas, he said.
He said sales and earnings from its Louis Rich processed turkey products offset lower earnings on red meat products.
Among its new products, General Foods said it got strong results from its Jell-O sugar-free gelatin, Maxwell House ground decaffeinated coffee and Jell-O Gelatin Pops.