Woolworth to alter quarterly figuresThough its own...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 14, 1994

Woolworth to alter quarterly figures

Though its own investigation into accounting irregularities is still incomplete, Woolworth Corp. said yesterday that it would restate its quarterly results for last year, but that its auditors were otherwise standing by the annual figures it reported for 1992 and 1993.

Woolworth also said it would maintain its 29 cents-a-quarter dividend, contrary to speculation that the board would cut the dividend at its regularly scheduled meeting yesterday. At that rate, the company is giving investors 89 cents of every dollar it is estimated to earn this year.

The two pieces of news had a calming effect on the company's stock, which rebounded by 13.1 percent yesterday, closing up $2, at $17.25.

Caremark allies with 3 drug firms

Seeking to catch up with Merck & Co. in the $12 billion-a-yeamanaged-care market for prescription drugs, Caremark International said yesterday that it had signed drug-distribution agreements with three of Merck's largest competitors.

Pfizer Inc. and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer said yesterday that they had joined the Caremark alliance. Bristol-Myers Squibb, which declined to comment, is the third company, industry executives said.

Caremark, a big mail-order drug and home-health-care company based in Northbrook, Ill., said the drug companies would provide discounts and other price concessions on their products to the health plans that Caremark serves.

Texas firm to buy building supplier

Cameron Ashley Inc., a Dallas-based building products distributor, has agreed to buy "substantially all the assets" of Chesapeake Building Supply Corp. of Baltimore, a 14-employee distributor of insulation and acoustical products to commercial and residential contractors in the area.

Cameron said Chesapeake, which has more than $7 million in annual sales, will remain an autonomous company. The sale, for an undisclosed price, is expected to close by April 30.

German's disappearance probed

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl ordered a government investigation yesterday into the disappearance of a billionaire developer reported in financial trouble, while union officials warned that thousands of jobs could be lost.

Unpaid workers at construction sites run by Juergen Schneider, known as Germany's construction king, stripped nails, woodwork and other materials from building projects for a second day.

Mr. Schneider, whose property development empire ranked as perhaps Germany's largest, vanished over Easter amid reports his company was in financial trouble.

Police were looking for Mr. Schneider, who reportedly left debts of $4.7 billion. Nearly 50 banks from which Mr. Schneider borrowed money are to meet today to discuss the crisis.

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