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Wahlco Environmental Combines Subsidiaries : Consolidation: The company, which makes pollution control and power efficiency equipment, puts 10 operations in one division.

September 16, 1992|CAROL SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

IRVINE — In a move to streamline operations further and to save money, Wahlco Environmental Systems, which last month laid off 120 people, said Tuesday that it has consolidated 10 subsidiaries into one operating division.

Wahlco Environmental Systems, based in Irvine, makes pollution control and power efficiency equipment used by electrical utilities, petrochemical refineries and industrial manufacturers worldwide.

The new division, Wahlco Engineered Products, combines subsidiaries that make gas-flow control products used in power plants. Gas-flow control products, which control the direction exhaust gases travel through a boiler during power production, account for more than 50% of the company's revenue.

The parent company, which reported a loss of $4.7 million for the first half of the year despite a 24% increase in revenue to $42.2 million, has been plagued by slowing orders for its products. At the same time, several recent acquisitions have increased the company's operating expenses. For the first half of 1991, the company reported a profit of $3.5 million on revenue of $34.1 million.

Wahlco's stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, has been as high as $15.13 a share in the past year. On Tuesday, it closed at $4.88 a share, down 50 cents from $5.38 the previous day.

Sales driven by new amendments to the federal Clean Air Act have not materialized as quickly as anticipated, Wahlco spokeswoman Anne Anderson said Tuesday.

The market for Wahlco's products is almost certain to improve, Anderson said. Compliance dates have not changed, she said: Manufacturers must conform to the new laws by 1995 and must file compliance plans by mid-February, 1993.

The turnaround appears to have begun already. In the first eight weeks of the current quarter, Wahlco posted $20 million in new orders, compared to $22.5 million for the entire third quarter last year, Anderson said.

The new division, Wahlco Engineered Products, makes one entity of these operations, located around the world: Bachmann Industries Inc., Bachmann Canada Ltd., Metro-Flex Inc., Bachmann Australia Pty. Ltd., Metro-Flex (U.K.) Ltd., Nuova Metro-Flex Italiana Srl., Pentney Engineering Ltd., Flowrite Dampers Ltd., Teddington Bellows Ltd. and Treste Plant Hire Ltd.

C. Stephen Beal, formerly managing director of Metro-Flex (U.K.) Ltd., was appointed president and chief executive of Wahlco Engineered Products.

Wahlco Environmental Systems, which now employs about 850 people, is 80% owned by San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

At a Glance: Wahlco Environmental Systems Inc.

* Corporate headquarters: Irvine.

* History: Until the company went public in April, 1990, it had been a wholly owned subsidiary of San Diego Gas & Electric since October, 1987.

* Corporate officers: Henry H. Huta, president, chief executive; Thomas A. Page, chairman. * Subsidiary offices: In addition to four in the United States, Wahlco has offices in Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, England, Italy and Wales.

* Nature of business: Designs, makes and sells air- and water-pollution control equipment. * * Employees: 120 in Orange County; about 850 companywide.

* 1991 sales: $88.8 million.

* 1991 earnings: $11.6 million.

* Tuesday's stock close: $4.88, down 50 cents.

Source: Wahlco Environmental Systems Inc.

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