KERR REPORTS GOOD RESULTS FOR QUARTER

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LANCASTER, PA. — Plastic packaging producer Kerr Group Inc. showed improvement on three fronts in April.

Kerr received $3.7 million from the sale of a Santa Ana, Calif., property, obtained an $8.5 million working-capital facility for a one-year term and issued an upbeat quarterly report.

Kerr reported earnings from continuing operations of $565,000 before unusual items, interest and income taxes for the quarter ended March 31. On the same basis, the company lost $4 million for the comparable 1996 first quarter.

However, one-time financing costs and interest expenses drove the Lancaster-based Kerr to take a first-quarter loss of $1.1 million on sales of $28.7 million. The comparable 1996 quarter had a loss of $6.2 million on sales of $25.1 million.

In a news release D. Gordon Strickland, Kerr president and chief executive officer, credited the result to improved pricing and higher unit sales of prescription and pharmaceutical packaging and lower corporate expenses.

The working-capital facility gives Kerr additional time to deal with its debt holders, who acquired the debt in November and have wanted to exchange all of it for common stock.

On March 7, Kerr defaulted on financial covenants under loan agreements for $50.9 million of unsecured debt. Discussions continue regarding a waiver of defaults and Kerr's possible purchase of the debt with pending institutional loans.

The company owns manufacturing plants in Lancaster and in Ahoskie, N.C., and leases facilities in Jackson, Tenn., and Bowling Green, Ky.

In 1996, the facilities operated at about 72 percent of capacity.