NBC to work with Mexican firmIn a move aimed at reaping...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 17, 1994

NBC to work with Mexican firm

In a move aimed at reaping some of the expected rewards of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NBC entered an alliance yesterday with Mexico's newly privatized television broadcasting company, agreeing to provide technical assistance and programming in exchange for a future stake in the company and access to one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

Under the terms of an agreement, NBC has a three-year option to acquire 10 percent to 20 percent of the Mexican company, Television Azteca, which had been owned by the government until it was sold to investors last July.

Even with NBC's support, Azteca faces a daunting task. Mexican broadcasting is dominated by Grupo Televisa SA, which runs four networks and controls 90 percent of the market.

TCI cash flow falls 3.6 percent

Tele-Communications Inc., the nation's largest cable TV operator, said first-quarter operating cash flow fell 3.6 percent because of rate reductions imposed under the 1992 Cable Act.

Operating cash flow, or earnings before depreciation, amortization and stock appreciation rights, fell to $450 million from $467 million a year earlier.

The Federal Communications Commission last year required cable operators last year to cut rates to 10 percent below what they charged on Sept. 30, 1992. An additional 7 percent rate cut ordered in February was to take effect Sunday, but cable companies have two months to reset their prices.

B.A.T to buy tobacco company

London-based B.A.T Industries PLC said it's acquiring 51 percent of Uzbekistan's state-owned tobacco company, Uz Tobacco A.O., and will invest $200 million to upgrade the company.

The move comes less than a month after B.A.T said it will buy American Tobacco Co. from American Brands Inc. for $1 billion in cash.

More Md. businesses survive

The number of Maryland businesses that failed fell by nearly 10 percent last year, as the nation saw the first improvement in business survival rate since 1989, Dun & Bradstreet said. Nationwide, 1993 business failures fell 11.4 percent from 1992's record high, the company said.

The Baltimore region, which had the 12th-highest rate of business failures in 1992, also showed signs of improvement, as business failures fell 10.2 percent, pushing the city down to 16th in 1993. Overall, 1,540 Maryland businesses either went bankrupt or closed with losses to creditors last year, down from 1,708 last year.

Quaker Oats to cut 300 jobs

Quaker Oats Co. said it will cut 300 jobs and take a charge of $110 million to $130 million in the fourth quarter, which ends June 30.

Quaker, based in Chicago, said its program will save $35 million to $45 million annually and make the company more competitive.

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