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April 15, 1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

A.O. Smith First Quarter Earnings Per Share Increase 82% to $.62 Per Share

A.O. Smith First Quarter Earnings Per Share Increase 82% to $.62 Per Share MILWAUKEE, April 15 -- A.O. Smith Corporation (NYSE: AOS) today announced first quarter 1998 continuing earnings of $10.2 million or $.62 per share (diluted), a significant increase over first quarter 1997 continuing earnings of $7.1 million or $.34 per share (diluted).

First quarter sales of $223 million were $27 million or approximately fourteen percent higher than sales of $196 million for the same period the prior year.

"Improved performance on the part of the Storage & Fluid Handling Technologies and Water Systems Technologies platforms contributed to the higher first quarter results," Robert J. O'Toole, chairman and chief executive officer, observed.

"The company also benefited from the addition of the UPPCO subfractional horsepower motor business and higher interest income."

First quarter sales of Electric Motor Technologies, A.O. Smith's largest platform, were nineteen percent higher than the first quarter of 1997, reflecting the impact of the UPPCO acquisition that A.O. Smith acquired on March 31, 1997. Excluding UPPCO, higher sales in both pump and international business units were offset by declines in the company's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) businesses. Because of pricing pressures, operating profits were essentially flat when compared with the first quarter of 1997.

Stronger sales of both residential and commercial water heaters enabled the Water Systems Technology platform to increase its sales five percent to nearly $75 million in the first quarter. Unit volumes for both residential and commercial water heaters rose approximately eight percent during the fourth quarter. Operating profits were modestly higher.

The Storage & Fluid Handling Technologies platform benefited in the first quarter from improved sales of liquid storage tanks, continued strong sales of dry storage and Slurrystore® tanks, as well as increased sales of fiberglass pipe to the service station and petroleum production markets. First quarter sales of $37 million were seventeen percent higher than sales of $31 million in the first quarter last year. First quarter operating profits were significantly higher than the same period in 1997 due to the higher volumes, improved operating efficiency, and the impact of cost-reduction activities during the second half of last year.

A.O. Smith Corporation is a diversified manufacturer with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis. Its major product lines include fractional horsepower, hermetic, and subfractional horsepower electric motors; residential and commercial water heaters; municipal, industrial, and agricultural storage tanks; and fiberglass reinforced piping systems.
                   A.O. SMITH CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
               (condensed consolidated financial statements --
                     $000 omitted except per share data)

Statement of Earnings

Three Months ended Continuing March 31 Sales 1998 1997 Electric Motor Technologies $111,839 $93,927 Water Systems Technologies 74,554 70,972 Storage & Fluid Handling Technologies 36,562 31,349 Net Sales 222,955 196,248

Costs and Expenses Cost of Products Sold 177,186 153,450 Selling, General and Administrative 27,900 27,393 Interest Expense 1,624 2,244 Interest Income (1,712) (58) Other Expense 722 990 Tax Provision 6,038 4,391 Total Costs and Expenses 211,758 188,410

Earnings Before Equity in Loss of Joint Ventures 11,197 7,838 Equity in Loss of Joint Ventures (1,019) (717) Earnings from Continuing Operations 10,178 7,121

Discontinued Earnings from Operations (less related income tax of $6,324) 0 12,790

Net Earnings $10,178 $19,911

Basic Earnings Per Share of Common Stock Continuing Operations $.63 $.35 Discontinued Operations -- $.63 Net Earnings $.63 $.98

Average Common Shares Outstanding 16,061,964 20,363,777

Diluted Earnings Per Share of Common Stock Continuing Operations $.62 $.34 Discontinued Operations -- $.62 Net Earnings $.62 $.96

Average Common Shares Outstanding 16,475,673 20,711,242



A.O. SMITH CORPORATION Balance Sheet

March 31 December 31 1998 1997 ASSETS:

Cash and cash equivalents $110,287 $145,896 Receivables 144,163 126,232 Inventories 79,132 79,049 Deferred income taxes 10,937 11,849 Other current assets 4,511 2,702

Total Current Assets 349,030 365,728

Net property, plant and equipment 208,267 207,756 Investments in and advances to joint ventures 27,237 25,605 Goodwill 51,354 51,783 Other assets 67,559 65,644

Total Assets $703,447 $716,516

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY:

Trade payables $63,718 $61,299 Accrued payroll and benefits 22,683 26,397 Product warranty 8,188 7,972 Income taxes 8,044 6,607 Long-term debt due within one year 5,598 5,590 Other current liabilities 21,850 20,017

Total Current Liabilities 130,081 127,882

Long-term debt 101,605 100,972 Other liabilities 56,285 59,515 Deferred income taxes 28,650 28,442 Stockholders' equity 386,826 399,705

Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $703,447 $716,516

A.O. SMITH CORPORATION STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS

Three Months ended March 31 1998 1997 Operating Activities Continuing Net earnings $10,178 $7,121

Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities: Depreciation & amortization 6,919 6,126 Deferred income taxes 1,120 (1,235) Equity in loss of joint ventures 1,019 717 Net change in current assets and liabilities (15,631) (22,927) Net change in noncurrent assets and liabilities (6,423) 4,341 Other 266 130 Cash Used by Operating Activities (2,552) (5,727)

Investing Activities Capital expenditures (6,942) (11,052) Capitalized purchased software costs (308) (240) Investment in joint ventures (2,652) (3,451) Acquisition of business (net of cash acquired) 0 (60,443) Cash Used by Investing Activities (9,902) (75,186)

Cash Used by Continuing Operations before Financing Activities (12,454) (80,913)

Discontinued Cash Used by Discontinued Operations before Financing Activities (814) (112,285)

Financing Activities Long-term debt incurred 641 241,940 Long-term debt retired -- (4,675) Purchase of common stock held in treasury (20,231) (46,828) Proceeds from common stock options exercised -- 2,432 Tax benefit from exercise of stock options -- 287 Dividends paid (2,751) (3,560) Cash Provided/(Used) by Financing Activities (22,341) 189,596

Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents (35,609) (3,602) Cash and cash equivalents - beginning of period 145,896 6,405

Cash and Cash Equivalents - End of Period $110,287 $2,803