U.S., Japan pursue trade talksEfforts to revive stalled...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 21, 1994

U.S., Japan pursue trade talks

Efforts to revive stalled trade negotiations between the United States and Japan were extended into the weekend, but neither side was giving hints about how close the two countries were.

New Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata dispatched a high-level delegation to Washington to find a way to resume trade talks that have been stalemated since Feb. 11.

The negotiations, known as "framework" talks, were designed to open Japan's markets in a number of sectors to American goods as a way of narrowing a record $59 billion trade gap.

BGE raises dividend to 38

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. yesterday raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent, to 38 cents a share.

The dividend is payable July 1 to holders of record on June 10.

The company has raised its dividend every year since 1976, except 1990 and 1991. During those 18 years, the quarterly dividend, adjusted for stock splits, has increased from 17.3 cents a share to the new rate of 38 cents.

TCI, Viacom mull cable venture

Tele-Communications Inc. and Viacom Inc. are negotiating a cable television partnership, a venture that would patch the rift between two of the country's most powerful media concerns, according to bankers close to both companies.

Tele-Communications had considered a $2.2 billion acquisition of Viacom's cable properties, but the companies changed course and agreed to forge a joint venture in order to avoid sticking Viacom with a capital-gains tax bill that could have hit $500 million.

The newly formed company could have as many as 2.2 million cable subscribers, 1.1 million for each company, in at least five states.

BFI pays $3.2 million to settle suit

F&E Resource Systems Technology Inc. of Baltimore said yesterday that it will accept a $3.2 million payment to settle a lawsuit it filed against Browning-Ferris Industries Inc.

F&E sued Houston-based Browning-Ferris for $1.3 billion in January, claiming breach of contract, fraud and antitrust violations after BFI pulled out of a proposed Prince George's County recycling and composting plant.

Mid Atlantic executive resigns

Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc., the Rockville managed-care company, said yesterday that its chief financial officer and treasurer, John L. Child, 43, is resigning to start his own company in Oregon effective July 22. He will be succeeded by Robert E. Foss, 44, a partner in the Washington office of Ernst & Young, which serves as independent accountant for Mid Atlantic. Mr. Child will remain a director of Mid Atlantic.

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