1. Archive

Tampa Bay / State

OUTBACK TO BUY BACK STOCK: Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse Inc. said Friday it will buy back up to 5.2 percent, or 2.5-million shares, of its common stock. The restaurant chain's shares hit a 52-week low of $18.25 Friday following news that sales had slowed. Shares closed Tuesday at $19.25, up 12{ cents. According to analysts, such buybacks are not unusual when a company thinks its stock value is unjustifiably low. Such announcements signal investors that the company has confidence in its future and views current troubles as onetime occurrences. Buybacks also increase earnings per share by reducing the number of shares outstanding. Outback operates 382 Outback Steakhouses and 54 Carrabba's Italian Grills in 40 states.

CRUISE LINE CHARGED: Princess Cruises Inc. has been charged by Florida's attorney general with deceiving consumers by adding on "port charges" that aren't related to any government fee. The civil complaint against the cruise line owned by London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. seeks penalties of as much as $15,000 for each violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, according to Bloomberg News. Princess Cruises said it has been negotiating with Florida officials over port fees and is surprised by the action, which it called meritless.

RISCORP DELAYS EARNINGS REPORT: RISCORP Inc. announced that its previously scheduled release of earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 1996 is delayed because the company's final year-end audit is not complete. The Sarasota-based insurer said it will reschedule the release and believes its fourth quarter and full year results will be profitable.


TEXACO BIAS SETTLEMENT FINAL: A race-discrimination lawsuit against Texaco Inc. has been officially settled for a historic $176-million. In a decision dated Friday and released Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Charles Brieant called the settlement "fair and reasonable, and highly beneficial" to the plaintiffs. Agreement was tentatively reached in November, after the disclosure earlier that month of secret tape recordings on which Texaco executives allegedly belittled black employees and plotted the destruction of evidence.

MOTOROLA SNAGS JAPAN DEAL: Motorola Inc. is expected to announce today it has won a contract to set up a digital cellular telephone network for several Japanese companies. The multiyear deal potentially is worth billions of dollars, the Wall Street Journal reported.

STRIKE DEADLINE DELAYED: American Airlines and its pilots union agreed Tuesday to extend a strike deadline until at least 30 days after the union's board or its membership rejects an agreement in principle. American officials said the decision means travelers can be assured that there will be no strike during April.

BANK SPREADS WEALTH: PNC Bank Corp., whose earnings soared last year, awarded special bonuses totaling about $6.4-million to 79 percent of its work force last week and gave full-time employees three additional paid vacation days, Bloomberg News reported. About 16,700 eligible full-time employees were each awarded a $350 bonus and three days off. About 3,200 part-time workers each received a $175 bonus, with no more time off.

AUDITORS DOUBT TWA: Trans World Airline Inc. said its auditors expressed doubt about the airline's ability to survive. KMPG Peat Marwick's opinion on TWA's financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31 "includes a qualification regarding TWA's ability to continue as a going concern," TWA said. Financial statements will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by March 31, according to Bloomberg News.

VEG-O-MATIC MAKER SOLD: Ronco Inc., maker of the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, Veg-O-Matic and other products advertised on television, has agreed to be acquired by LA Group Inc. for $25-million in cash and stock. The deal should be completed within two months.

IRS TO TAKE SATURDAY CALLS: With the April 15 tax deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service plans to keep its tax help lines open the next three Saturdays to handle last-minute filers. The IRS' toll-free tax help line _ (800) 829-1040 _ is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, through April 12.



6876.17 123.75 6.96

-29.08 +0.84 +0.04