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Merrill Corporation Announces Q4 Profit, Sales up 16%

Press release from the issuing company

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 29 -- Merrill Corporation, a global, diversified communications and document services provider, today announced increased earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter and year ended January 31, 2004. Revenues increased 16 percent in the fourth quarter to $144.8 million compared to $124.5 million in the prior year's fourth quarter. Net income of $0.7 million represented an increase of $2.9 million compared to the prior year's fourth quarter loss of $2.2 million. For the full fiscal year ended January 31, 2004, revenue increased by 3 percent to $596.2 million compared to $581.6 million in fiscal year 2003, and net income increased by $7.0 million to $8.4 million for fiscal year 2004 compared to net income of $1.4 million in fiscal year 2003. Fiscal year 2003 net income included $3.7 million in after-tax charges related to the August 2002 debt restructuring and other restructuring costs. "Merrill's revenue and earnings growth in the fourth quarter is a reflection of strengthening economic and financial market activity," said John Castro, CEO of Merrill Corporation. "Financial market activities increased slightly in the third quarter of fiscal 2004 and continued in the fourth quarter. This acceleration gave our Financial Document Services business the largest year-over year revenue increase compared to our other businesses." Merrill's next largest revenue increase year-over-year was in its Document Management Services business, which continues to show growth in providing services to the legal industry. Revenue also continues to grow in our marketing and communication services to the real estate industry. "We continue to make progress in our diversification of revenue which helps mitigate the effect of weaknesses in the financial markets when they exist," Castro said. Other notable accomplishments in fiscal 2004 included the doubling of revenue from the Merrill Datasite product that was launched in fiscal 2003. Merrill Datasite enables users to review large document volumes using Web- based search tools from any location. The company also realized a 26 percent increase in revenues from its Language Translation Services and continued its focus on cost control.