State bond rates riseMaryland sold $184.2 million in bonds...

BUSINESS DIGEST

February 17, 1994

State bond rates rise

Maryland sold $184.2 million in bonds yesterday at an interest rate of 4.48 percent, a rate up slightly from the last bond sale, in October.

The state sold $283.2 million in bonds four months ago at a rate of 4.45 percent.

Despite the small increase, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein said the low bid yesterday offered "an outstanding interest rate" reflecting Maryland's AAA bond rating and low market interest rates.

Approximately $64.2 million of the bond sale will be used to pay off bonds sold in previous years, when interest rates were higher.

The remaining $120 million will be used for a variety of state and local projects.

Bay Area Health wins contract

Bay Area Health Care of Baltimore has won an exclusive contract to provide home health care services to three health maintenance organizations owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland.

Under the two-year arrangement, Bay Area will set up a company dedicated exclusively to the Blues' HMO patients and provide the service for a flat monthly fee for each patient.

Terms of the contract were not released. Bay Area is a for-profit company owned by physicians in the Shock Trauma Center of the University of Maryland Medical Center. It provides 85,000 patient visits a year, and is about the sixth-largest home care company in the state.

Blue Cross said the two-year contract, for patients in its CareFirst, FreeState, and Potomac Health HMOs, allows it to cut expenses associated with managing patients treated by dozens of home health care companies around the state.

Zenith chosen for TV test

Seven groups known as the high-definition television "Grand Alliance" selected the final technology yesterday for a TV system that will be tested later this year.

They chose Zenith Electronics Corp.'s "VSB" technology, a transmission system that will transmit digitized information into people's homes. It won out over General Instrument Corp., which is also a member of the alliance.

Grand Alliance's selection of Zenith still must be approved by a Federal Communications Commission advisory group on Feb. 24.

European steelmakers fined

The European Union's executive commission fined 16 steelmakers a record $116 million yesterday for operating a clandestine cartel to illegally rig prices and markets for steel building beams.

British Steel bore the brunt of the ruling, with a fine of 32 million jTC Ecus ($36 million), European Commissioner Karel Van Miert said.

The 16 steelmakers were said to have operated the cartel in breach of the EU antitrust laws since 1984 but were fined for the offense since only 1988. Brussels condoned industry pacts before 1988 because of a crisis in the sector.

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