Hurricane loss hits USF&GUSF&G Corp., one of the nation's...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 16, 1992

Hurricane loss hits USF&G

USF&G Corp., one of the nation's largest insurance companies, said yesterday that it faces $80 million in after-tax losses from Hurricane Andrew, a figure nearly twice initial estimates and one that could at least temporarily hurt the beleaguered company's efforts to rebuild profitability. The Baltimore-based company said higher-than-expected construction costs in Florida had driven up the estimate of $45 million for the hurricane, which flattened parts of South Florida last summer.

IBM posts quarterly loss

International Business Machines Corp. reported a $2.8 billion third-quarter loss yesterday and said huge job cuts and economic turmoil were at the root of its second-biggest quarterly loss.

The grim earnings report sent the company's stock down to $72 during the day. It recovered to close down $5.125, to $72.875, a loss of 7 percent and a 10-year low, on the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street analysts called the report a disaster and a clear sign that IBM's huge restructuring program is not yet paying off.

Md. firm seeks reorganization

Kitchen Bazaar, a Rockville-based chain of kitchenware stores, announced yesterday that it has filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The 13-store chain operates six stores in Maryland -- in Bethesda, Annapolis, Towson, Columbia, Gaithersburg and Waldorf. The stores are remaining open during the reorganization.

The company also appointed William E. Shepard as chief executive officer. He succeeds Richard Kaufmann, who Mr. Shepard said had resigned.

Business sales fell in Sept.

The government reported yesterday that business sales dropped sharply in September, paychecks were slimmer and the job market stalled.

The only good news was a Labor Department report showing that consumer prices remained in check, rising 0.2 percent to bring retail inflation to its lowest rate since 1986. But the department reported that the average worker's earnings in September, after adjusting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower than in September 1991.

Hammes is promoted at B&D

Michael N. Hammes, 50, a former auto executive who heads Black & Decker Corp.'s power tools and home products group, was appointed to the newly created position of vice chairman, the company said yesterday.

Kirschner expects loss

Kirschner Medical Corp. said yesterday that it expects to report a third-quarter loss as the costs associated with two failed merger attempts and a loan restructuring have eaten away at earnings.

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