FOCUS ON FUTURE, FIRST UNION CEO SAYS: Struggling to regain investor confidence after the bank twice cut its profit forecast this year, First Union Corp. chairman and chief executive Ed Crutchfield told analysts and investors that he too is disappointed with the bank's performance. "I know that we have disappointed you this year with our downward earnings forecast and revisions," Crutchfield said at a meeting in New York. "I can assure you we have disappointed ourselves even more. What I'm asking you to do is focus on the future rather than the past." First Union's shares fell $1.68} to $44.56\ as most financial-services stocks fell.
MONEY STORE CEO NAMED: First Union Corp. has picked James Maynor, formerly head of the bank's consumer groups, to lead its Money Store lending unit. Maynor replaces William S. Templeton, who resigned Friday. Robert Burton, who was the chief financial officer for the consumer group, will take over Maynor's role. A replacement for Burton has not been named.
PAIR ACCUSED OF SELLING STOLEN GOODS ON NET: Two Michigan men have been charged with shoplifting by fencing thousands of dollars in stolen goods through the Internet auction site eBay. Police said Theodore Armstrong, 31, and Neil Schultz, 30, shoplifted $40,000 in merchandise from Meijer discount stores in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, then sold about half of it on eBay to buyers around the world. A police official said the buyers were unaware they were bidding on stolen merchandise. Both men face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST TO BE ACQUIRED: Health Care Property Investors Inc. has agreed to acquire American Health Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust, for $1-billion in stock and assumed debt. Health Care Property, also a real estate investment trust, said the acquisition adds 68 health care properties to its portfolio. It now owns 423 hospitals, clinics and medical office buildings in 44 states. The deal values American Health, based in Denver, at $20.18\ a share based on Tuesday's close, a premium to its current price. Health Care Property is a Newport Beach, Calif., company.
DIAMOND SETTLES RIO DISPUTE: The music industry settled its federal lawsuit against Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc., ending a campaign to block the company from selling its portable Internet music players. Terms were undisclosed. The Recording Industry Association of America and the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies went to court in October, seeking an injunction to stop sales of Diamond's Rio, the first portable device to let consumers play songs downloaded from the Internet. The injunction and a later appeal were denied by federal judges.
BUFFETT ADMITS MISTAKE WITH MCDONALD'S: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sold more than three-fourths of its stake in McDonald's Corp. during the first quarter of 1998 _ illustrating the extent of what Buffett has acknowledged as a "very big mistake." Berkshire cut its McDonald's stake to 3.3-million shares as of March 31, 1998, down from 15.2-million shares reported as of Dec. 31, 1997. McDonald's shares gained 61 percent last year, outstripping Berkshire's 52 percent increase.
VIATICAL FIRM TOLD TO RELEASE DOCUMENTS: Leon County Circuit Judge Ralph Smith Jr. ordered American Benefit Services Inc. of Lake Worth to turn over records to insurance fraud investigators. The company sold investments that were supposed to be backed by life insurance policies purchased from people who are terminally ill. State investigators say they have been unable to determine whether the policies exist. Lawyer Houston Park said American Benefit would cooperate with investigators but thought the insurance department did not have the authority to subpoena all the documents it wants from the company.
Intermedia Communications Inc.
The Tampa telephone and data company reported record revenues, but a net loss, for its second quarter ended June 30. The company has not yet had a profitable quarter. Intermedia also announced a deal with Bell Atlantic to offer high-speed Internet and data access, known as frame relay, nationwide.
2ndQtr Year Ago
Revenue $217.9-mil $190.2-mil
Net Income -$140,532 -$150,931
Per Share -$2.81 -$3.49
Equitable Cos. Inc.
The life insurance and financial services company blew past Wall Street predictions, led by an 18 percent rise in earnings contributions from majority-owned brokerage Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and a 17 percent rise in insurance revenues. Income for the quarter ended June 30 included a gain of $193.6-million on the public sale in May of Internet broker DLJdirect and an $85.6-million charge on an accounting change.
2ndQtr Year Ago
Revenue $3.51-bil $2.95-bil
Net Income $381.0-mil $248.8-mil
Per Share $1.66 1.06
JLM Industries Inc.
Continued pricing pressure on its core chemical products contributed to an 80 percent drop in net income for the quarter ended June 30. John L. Macdonald, JLM president and chief executive, said the Tampa company expects the manufacturing sector will continue to face adverse conditions.
2ndQtr Year Ago
Revenue $82.1-mil $84.4-mil
Net Income $376,861 $1.89-mil
Per Share 6 cents 27 cents
_ Per-share earnings are reported on a diluted basis.