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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY EARNINGS

Hines Horticulture Inc.

February 28, 2001|Times staff and wire reports

The Irvine operator of commercial nurseries posted wider losses for the fourth quarter and lower net income for the year, but said it expects higher operating income and sales this year.

Hines said it plans to focus exclusively on operations in 2001, and forgo acquisitions, to generate sustainable, increased cash flow.

The company plans to expand its capacity, improve pricing and expand store-service programs to generate cash flow and reduce debt.

The company incurred a fourth-quarter net loss of $7.9 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $3.2 million, or 14 cents a share, for the 1999 fourth quarter. Sales climbed 52% to a record $69.9 million.

The loss for the recent quarter included about $1.7 million in nonrecurring expenses related to a fire at the company's Seba Beach facility.

For the year, Hines earned $12.4 million, or 56 cents a share, down 19% from the $15.4 million, or 70 cents a share, reported for 1999. Sales rose 41% to $423.3 million.

The company said it expects operating income to increase 12% to 15% this year, with sales rising 6% to 10%.

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