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W.R. Grace says income dropped 13% in first quarter

Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. said Wednesday that its net income in the first quarter fell about 13 percent from the year-earlier period, in line with its warning to investors and analysts earlier in the month.

The Columbia company said sales volumes didn't drop, but revenue took a hit as a result of lower pricing and an unfavorable change in the Venezuelan exchange rate.

"Sales and earnings were below our expectations," CEO Fred Festa said in a statement.

W.R. Grace said it produced $52.9 million in net income during the first three months of the year, compared with $60.9 million in the first quarter of last year. Sales totaled $709.9 million, down 5.9 percent from the year-ago period.

The company's stock rose 43 cents to close at $77.75 per share in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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