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Worthington Industries Reports Third Quarter And Nine Month Results: Third Quarter EPS Up 24%; Nine Months EPS Up 37%


Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2000 --- Worthington Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:WTHG) today reported results for the three and nine-month periods ended February 29, 2000. For the quarter, earnings from continuing operations increased 22% from the prior year to $23.2 million, and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased 24% to $0.26. Sales increased 15% to $486.5 million from $422.1 million.

For the nine-month period, earnings from continuing operations increased 31% from the prior year to $72.2 million from $55.1 million, and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased 37% to $0.81 from $0.59. Sales increased 12% to $1,423 million from $1,268 million.

Net earnings and diluted net earnings per share were $23.2 million and $0.26, respectively, for the quarter compared to $2.2 million and $0.02, respectively, for the same quarter last year. For the nine-month period, net earnings and diluted net earnings per share were $72.2 million and $0.81, respectively, compared to $33.1 million and $0.36, respectively, in the prior year. Prior year net earnings and diluted net earnings per share include the effects of the Company's discontinued operations as well as an accounting change.

"The Company again was able to post significantly stronger quarterly results", said John P. McConnell, Worthington's Chairman and CEO. "While all business segments exhibited double-digit revenue growth, margin pressures constrained bottom line earnings in our steel processing and pressure cylinders segments. However, the benefits of our $1 billion multi-year investment program and the divestiture of certain non-core business segments, both of which were completed last year, become more evident each quarter. Improvements in virtually all of those investments, especially our metal framing business, drove earnings. In addition, the progress at our Decatur facility, which reached the breakeven point on an operating income basis in the third quarter, is encouraging."

Dietrich Industries, the Company's metal framing business and a 1996 acquisition, continues to contribute significantly to profitability through reduced costs and increased efficiencies. The Company is well positioned to prosper as the residential housing market recognizes the numerous advantages of steel construction.

"Worthington Industries is committed to shareholder value," continued John S. Christie, President and Chief Operating Officer. "Improving operations and new investments should drive growth. Recent announcements of a new Gerstenslager manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, as well as new product introductions in pressure cylinders and metal framing illustrate the Company's commitment." In addition, the Company repurchased a total of 2.9 million shares during the quarter, as the share price became increasingly attractive. Over the last two years the Company has repurchased over 10 million shares.

Worthington Industries is a leading diversified metal processing company with annual sales of approximately $2 billion. The Columbus, Ohio, based Company is North America's premier value-added steel processor and a leader in manufactured metal products such as automotive aftermarket stampings, pressure cylinders, metal framing, metal ceiling grid systems and laser welded blanks. The Company employs 7,500 people and operates 53 facilities in 11 countries.

Founded in 1955, the Company operates under a long-standing corporate philosophy rooted in the golden rule, with earning money for its shareholders as the first corporate goal. This philosophy, an unwavering commitment to the customer, and one of the strongest employee partnerships in American industry serve as the Company's foundation.

Safe Harbor Statement
The Company wishes to take advantage of the Safe Harbor provisions included in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("the Act"). Statements by the Company relating to future revenues and growth, stock appreciation, plant startups, capabilities and other statements which are not historical information constitute "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Act. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ from those projected. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions; conditions in the Company's major markets; competitive factors and pricing pressures; product demand and changes in product mix; changes in pricing or availability of raw material, particularly steel; delays in construction or equipment supply; and other risks described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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