WOOSTER, OHIO - Rubbermaid Inc., for years a juggernaut of ever-climbing financial performance, saw profit plunge by 74 percent in 1995, to $59.8 million. The company also reduced the bonus paid to Wolfgang R. Schmitt, chairman and chief executive officer, by 44 percent. Schmitt's overall annual compensation also declined, by 13 percent, to $1.22 million.
In 1994, Rubbermaid's net profit totaled $228.1 million. But in 1995, Rubbermaid was hit by a doubling of resin costs and an intensely competitive retail climate racked by weak consumer demand, the company said. A big blow to profit was a one-time charge of $158 million in the fourth quarter to finance a ma-jor restructuring that the firm announced Dec. 5.
During the next two years, Rubbermaid plans to lay off about 1,200 employees and close nine facilities. The company said $120 million of the $158 million will go for disposition of inventories and machinery and equipment.
Rubbermaid officials expect the restructuring, when fully implemented, to yield about $50 million in annual savings.
Rubbermaid registered a sales increase in 1995. Sales hit a record $2.34 billion, an 8 percent increase from $2.17 billion in 1994. Materials costs gobbled up nearly half the sales, according to the company's annual report.
A March 8 proxy statement said Rubbermaid cut Schmitt's bonus in 1995 by 44 percent, to $365,461. His bonus in 1994 was $656,123. The cut was ``as a result of the company's 1995 performance,'' according to the board's compensation committee.
Schmitt's salary increased by 8 percent, to $427,440, in 1995 from $395,060 the year before. He also saw an increase in compensation from a cash award for the company exceeding certain restricted-stock performance. That gave Schmitt another $431,580, 22 percent more than the 1994 figure of $351,775.
Noting that ``1995 was a difficult year,'' the compensation committee defended Schmitt's compensation package as ``appropriate given the fact that the challenges facing the company are being addressed in a direct and timely manner.''
More than 65 percent of Schmitt's 1995 compensation was incentive-based.
Adding up the salary, bonus and award for restricted-stock performance, Schmitt's 1995 compensation was $1,224,481, down 13 percent from the 1994 compensation of $1,402,958.
Rubbermaid also cut the bonus of Charles Carroll, president and chief operating officer, by 37 percent, to $233,542. His base salary increased 6 percent, to $286,203.