Oglebay Norton Company Announces Sale of Three Vessels to Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company

CLEVELAND, Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Oglebay Norton Company (OTC Pink Sheets: OGBY.PK) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Oglebay Norton Marine Services Company, LLC, has completed the sale of its three remaining self-unloading freighters for $18.7 million to Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company. Divested were the M/V David Z. Norton, M/V Wolverine and the M/V Earl W. Oglebay. In a separate agreement but coincidental with the sale of the vessels, the Company secured carriage for limestone from its quarries through a favorable long-term contract of affreightment with Lower Lakes Transportation Company. All remaining company customer obligations for bulk carriage on the Great Lakes were assumed by Lower Lakes Transportation Company as well. The cash proceeds from this transaction will be used to pay down debt and buy out an operating lease.

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Michael D. Lundin, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "This transaction completes the final step in our long-term strategy to transition away from marine shipping in order to focus on those businesses that we believe offer the most attractive long-term prospects for growth and profitability.

"We also are pleased that Wisconsin & Michigan has agreed to hire our vessel employees to continue to work on the boats and Lower Lakes Transportation Company assumed certain customer contracts. Our marine employees have been hard-working, loyal and dedicated, and for that, I thank them. We also thank our customers and vendors for their support of Oglebay Norton Marine Services over many years."

Combined with the previously announced vessel transactions, the Company received $148.9 million of proceeds for its fleet, plus reimbursement for winter work that was done prior to this sailing season. Over the past three years, gross sales, operating income and EBITDA for the Marine Services group have averaged $81 million, $8 million and $14 million, respectively. Proforma for the transactions, the Company has approximately $140 million of debt outstanding.

Lundin stated, "By finalizing the sale of the fleet and refinancing our bank debt, management is now able to more fully focus its attention on executing our stated strategy of expanding current markets and developing new markets for our limestone and limestone fillers businesses, while maximizing the profitability of our sand and lime businesses."

Oglebay Norton Company, a Cleveland, Ohio-based company with a 150-year tradition of service, provides essential minerals and aggregates to a broad range of markets, from building materials and environmental remediation to the energy and metallurgical industries. For more information, see www.oglebaynorton.com.

SOURCE: Oglebay Norton Company

CONTACT: Julie A. Boland, Vice President, CFO and Treasurer of Oglebay Norton Company, +1-216-861-8941

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Oglebay Norton Company's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.