For the nine months, sales increased 3 percent, to $1.455 billion from $1.407 billion a year ago. Net income of $38.7 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared with $31.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share reported for the first nine months of the 2000 fiscal year. The prior year results included a pre-tax restructuring charge of $45 million.
RPM indicated its third-quarter results were in line with expectations. The third quarter began with extremely cold temperatures, extending far south, which impacted overall sales. The generally soft retail environment and high costs involved with the restructuring of our Wood Finishes Group further contributed to the loss in a generally weak quarter (December-February). The third quarter and nine-month results also reflected the loss of sales and income from business units sold during the previous fiscal year, along with higher interest costs and unfavorable foreign exchange differences.
RPM indicated that despite economic slowdown, it expects to report strong improvement in its fourth quarter ending May 31, 2001 compared to last year's fourth quarter. The fiscal-year results will be in the range of the consensus of earnings estimates, although the weak economy has caused many project delays, and overall fiscal year earnings will likely fall below the $0.73 per diluted share reported last year pre-restructuring.
RPM announced that after the quarter end it divested the commercial unit of DAP. The proceeds were used to reduce long-term debt. It plans to divest additional non-core business, with the proceeds to be used to further reduce long-term debt.