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Bausch & Lomb Profit Rises 28 Pct.

October 16, 1997

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Bausch & Lomb Inc. said Thursday that third-quarter profits jumped 28 percent, with robust sales of contact lenses more than offsetting a dip in demand for sunglasses.

The eyewear and healthcare products company earned $18.5 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $14.4 million, or 25 cents a share, a year ago.

The results were within most Wall Street forecasts, but the company’s stock fell $1.31 1/4 to close at $41.18 3/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sales fell 1.9 percent to $468.3 million from $477.2 million. But sales edged up 1 percent when $13.7 million in sales from its oral care and dental implant businesses, which it sold last year, were excluded.

The company took an after-tax charge of $11 million, or 20 cents a share, as part of a restructuring to counter setbacks in its core businesses by slashing $100 million a year in spending by 1999. Through the end of next year, it will cut 1,900 jobs from its labor force of 13,500.

A year ago, Bausch & Lomb took a charge of $16.3 million to cover losses from a lawsuit and from the sale of its oral care unit. If all charges were excluded, it earned $29.4 million, or 53 cents a share, down from $30.7 million, or 54 cents a share, a year ago.

Sales in the eyewear unit dipped 13 percent in the quarter, hit hardest in the United States by a drop in orders from Sunglass Hut International, the nation’s largest sunglass retailer.

Sales rose 6 percent in its vision care unit, driven by double-digit growth in disposable and planned replacement contact lenses. The healthcare unit advanced 8 percent, propelled by robust sales in biotech business lines and hearing aids.

Revenues rose 4 percent in the United States, but fell 2 percent abroad, hurt by the dollar’s strength.

So far in 1997, profits amount to $42 million, or 75 cents a share, on sales of $1.44 billion. In the first three quarters of 1996, profits were $67.2 million, or $1.18 a share, on sales of $1.49 billion.

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