Trial put off for ailing CliffordClark M. Clifford, who is...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 04, 1993

Trial put off for ailing Clifford

Clark M. Clifford, who is expected to undergo heart surgery this month, yesterday won an indefinite postponement of his trial in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal.

Mr. Clifford, who is 86 and suffers from a variety of ailments, was scheduled to stand trial March 15 in New York Supreme Court.

6 airlines oppose settlements by 2

Six airlines fighting charges that they conspired to fix ticket prices asked a U.S. District judge in Washington yesterday to postpone settlements with two other defendants in the case, United Airlines and USAir.

Any final settlement with United and USAir before the judge rules on the dismissal motion, they said, would hinder their case and further hamper consumers' ability to shop for the lowest available fares in an already chaotic market.

North American car sales lag

Sales of North American-built vehicles rose 9 percent in late February from the levels of a year earlier, automakers reported yesterday. Still, accounting for seasonal adjustments, the annual rate of car sales slipped to 5.5 million in the period, from 6.5 million in mid-February and 5.9 million a year ago.

Analysts were divided over whether lagging car sales reflected consumer worry about President Clinton's economic proposals, especially those for higher taxes, which Mr. Clinton disclosed Feb. 17.

Stock's rise puzzles Optelecom

Optelecom Inc. Chairman William Culver said yesterday that the company couldn't explain the sharp rise in the Gaithersburg company's stock price, which at Tuesday's closing price of 16 was up $11, or 220 percent, from its close at $5 Dec. 31. It closed yesterday down $2.375, at $13.625.

Times Mirror debt downgraded

Standard & Poor's Corp. said yesterday that it has cut Times Mirror Co.'s senior debt and shelf debt registration to A-plus from AA-minus and commercial paper to A-1 from A-1-plus, affecting about $900 million in debt. The cuts reflect S&P's view that Times Mirror's recovery to profitability will be delayed by continued weakness in its key media markets.

But S&P said the overall outlook was stable because the financial condition of Times Mirror, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and The Sun and The Evening Sun, should remain unchanged as capital spending and cash uses have been brought into line with lower cash flow.

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