The Andersons, Inc. Reports Improved Revenue And Earnings

First Qtr. EPS $(0.03) This Year vs. $(0.07) in 2003

PRNewswire-FirstCall
MAUMEE, Ohio
May 5, 2004

The Andersons, Inc. , today reported a first quarter loss of $0.2 million, or three cents per diluted share. In the same three-month period of 2003, the company incurred a loss of $0.5 million, or seven cents per diluted share. Total revenues of $275 million for the period were $36 million higher than the first quarter of 2003.

The Agriculture Group incurred an operating loss of $1.5 million for the quarter. In the comparable three-month period of 2003, the group lost $1.0 million. Revenues of $184 million in this year's first quarter were $34 million higher than a year ago. First quarter revenues in the group's grain business were higher this year due to higher average grain prices and increased volume. Grain gross profit and operating income were both slightly below first quarter 2003 levels. Total tonnage and revenues in the group's plant nutrient business increased somewhat from the prior year during the first quarter. Expenses were moderately higher, however, and the plant nutrient bottom line declined slightly. With carryover stocks of corn in the U.S. projected to drop to their lowest level in several years and currently high grain market prices, planted acres and total corn production on U.S. farms are expected to increase this season. This points toward good fertilizer sales this spring and a large grain harvest in the fall, assuming reasonably good weather during the growing season.

The Rail Group's first quarter performance outpaced 2003's first quarter. Total revenues of $11.1 million were up $6.7 million for the period, and operating income of $1.3 million was $1.0 million above last year. The group completed several railcar financing transactions during the quarter and midway through the period finalized the previously announced acquisition of a large number of railcars and locomotives. This transaction more than doubled the size of the group's fleet and positioned it among the major rail leasing companies in North America.

The Processing Group's first quarter 2004 operating income of $3.2 million was $0.5 million below the amount it earned in the same period last year. Total revenues of $45.2 million for the quarter were $7.2 million below the 2003 first quarter level. Most of the group's lawn products income is typically generated during the first quarter each year as retailers, golf course superintendents and landscapers get ready for springtime business. This year, first quarter sales were lower due to the volume of carryover inventories held by retailers and some shipments that occurred late in 2003 which normally would have happened in January of 2004. In addition, sales to professional markets were hampered by the cold weather which delayed the season's start for many lawn care operators.

The Retail Group's sales of $34.6 million in the first quarter represented a robust 8.2 percent increase in same-store sales compared to the same three- month period in 2003. While the average amount of each customer's purchase increased slightly, most of the $2.6 million increase in the group's total revenue was attributable to growth in the number of customers served. Average margins were relatively unchanged for the period. Because of the resultant increase in total gross profit, the group's operating performance improved by $0.3 million.

The Andersons' consolidated balance sheet grew noticeably during the first quarter, primarily due to the rail acquisition that added approximately $90 million to the company's total assets and $86.4 million of non-recourse debt securitized by the rail assets purchased.

"We're off to a reasonably good start this year, and things appear to be positioned pretty well for the important spring season," said President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Anderson. "Corn acreage projections look promising, and we believe that strong grain prices will encourage average or better agricultural fertilizer use this season. We're getting indications of good spring activity in our stores' lawn and garden business, and we're also encouraged by the early results from our big rail acquisition."

Anderson also stated, "At this juncture, I believe that our 2004 full-year EPS could be in the $1.40 to $1.65 range. It's still early, though, and numerous factors could go either way. My point is simply that forecasting future results in our diverse businesses is imprecise at best. I will update this forecast as we go through the year."

The company will host a webcast on Thursday, May 6, 2004 at 11:00 A.M. EDT, to discuss its first quarter performance and full-year outlook. This can be accessed under the heading "Financial Information" on its website at www.andersonsinc.com or at www.firstcallevents.com/service/ajwz405410570gf12.html .

The Andersons, Inc. is a respected leader and dominant regional player in grain merchandising and agricultural plant nutrients distribution. Its strong position in these basic businesses has allowed the company to diversify into rail equipment leasing, the production of turf care products, and general merchandise retailing. The company has been in operation since 1947.

This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Without limitation, these risks include economic, weather and regulatory conditions, competition, and the risk factors set forth from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  The Andersons, Inc. is located on the Internet at www.andersonsinc.com .
  Financial tables follow . . .


                             The Andersons, Inc.

                    Consolidated Statements of Operations

                                                    Three Months ended
                                                         March 31
  (in thousands, except for per share amounts)    2004              2003

  Sales and merchandising revenues              $275,050          $238,651
  Cost of sales and merchandising revenues       238,988           205,768
  Gross profit                                    36,062            32,883

  Operating, administrative and general
   expenses                                       34,744            32,438
  Interest expense                                 2,666             2,303

  Other income, net                                  953             1,129
  Loss before income tax credit                     (395)             (729)
  Income tax credit                                 (149)             (248)
  Net loss                                         $(246)            $(481)

  Per common share:
        Basic earnings (loss)                     $(0.03)           $(0.07)
        Diluted earnings (loss)                   $(0.03)           $(0.07)
        Dividends paid                            $0.075            $0.070

  Weighted average shares outstanding-basic        7,218             7,181
  Weighted average shares outstanding-diluted      7,218             7,181


                           The Andersons, Inc.

                       Consolidated Balance Sheets
                               (Unaudited)

                                           March 31  December 31   March 31
             (in thousands)                  2004        2003        2003

  Assets
  Current assets:
    Cash and cash equivalents               $3,624      $6,444      $7,038
    Restricted cash                          1,993         -           -
    Accounts receivable (net) and
     margin deposits                       118,534      68,546      79,057
    Inventories                            280,326     259,755     248,454
    Other current assets                    33,525      22,234      19,582
  Total current assets                     438,002     356,979     354,131

  Other assets                              22,422      13,702      13,568
  Railcar assets leased to others (net)    101,062      29,489      29,783
  Property, plant and equipment (net)       94,828      92,449      92,557
                                          $656,314    $492,619    $490,039

  Liabilities and shareholders' equity
  Current liabilities:
    Notes payable                         $174,000     $48,000    $118,200
    Other current liabilities              181,209     219,447     158,990
  Total current liabilities                355,209     267,447     277,190

  Deferred items and other long-term
   liabilities                              27,329      27,254      23,618
  Long-term debt non-recourse               77,036         -           -
  Long-term debt                            81,248      82,127      84,481
  Shareholders' equity                     115,492     115,791     104,750
                                          $656,314    $492,619    $490,039


                                 Segment Data

                                         Agriculture     Rail     Processing
      Quarter ended March 31, 2004

  Revenues from external customers         $184,193     $11,080     $45,226

  Gross Profit                               13,718       5,069       7,859

  Other income                                  530          97          51

  Operating income (loss)                    (1,529)      1,291       3,212

      Quarter ended March 31, 2003

  Revenues from external customers          149,905       4,382      52,420

  Gross Profit                               13,753       2,142       8,482

  Other income                                  571          50         203

  Operating income (loss)                    (1,032)        304       3,739


                                 Segment Data

                                            Retail      Other       Total
      Quarter ended March 31, 2004

  Revenues from external customers          $34,551       $-       $275,050

  Gross Profit                                9,416        -         36,062

  Other income                                  156        119          953

  Operating income (loss)                    (2,317)    (1,052)        (395)

      Quarter ended March 31, 2003

  Revenues from external customers           31,944        -        238,651

  Gross Profit                                8,506        -         32,883

  Other income                                  138        167        1,129

  Operating income (loss)                    (2,623)    (1,117)        (729)

SOURCE: The Andersons, Inc.

CONTACT: Gary Smith, Vice President Finance & Treasurer of The
Andersons, Inc., +1-419-891-6417


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