Sprint in European talksA day after ending merger talks...

BUSINESS DIGEST

June 08, 1994

Sprint in European talks

A day after ending merger talks with Electronic Data Systems, the Sprint Corp. confirmed yesterday that it was negotiating a multi-billion-dollar alliance with the state-owned telephone companies of France and Germany.

People familiar with the discussions said that France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are seeking to invest a total of about $4 billion in Sprint, the third-largest U.S. long-distance carrier.

The goal of such an alliance, for all sides, is to develop a package of communication services for corporations that do business on both continents.

Wholesale sales declined in April

Sales at the wholesale level dropped 1.2 percent in April after three straight monthly increases, the Commerce Department said yesterday, and inventories of unsold goods rose 0.4 percent.

At the same time, consumers ran up their credit-card bills at a record pace in April, the Federal Reserve Board said, as buying on credit shot upward for a second straight month.

The wholesale report suggested some weakening in the pace of economic activity at the beginning of the second quarter.

Crude oil prices drop

Crude oil posted its largest decline in more than two months amid concern that gasoline supply is rising and Iraq could move a step closer to ending a United Nations oil-export embargo.

Iraq's parliamentary chief told the Jordanian newspaper Ad'Dustoor that his country is "ready to consult" with Kuwait, possibly meaning that Iraq is moving closer to recognizing Kuwait as a sovereign state, which it must do before the August 1990 embargo is lifted.

July crude dropped to $17.63 a barrel before rebounding to settle at $17.75, down 36 cents.

Beth Steel, USX form venture

Bethlehem Steel Corp., which owns the Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County, yesterday announced a tentative agreement to conduct joint research and development projects with the U.S. Steel Group of USX Corp, the nation's largest steelmaker. The proposed agreement will cover basic iron and steel-making technologies, steel finishing processes and instrumentation.

Port gets new deputy director

G. Gregory Russell has been named deputy executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the state agency that oversees Baltimore's five public marine terminals.

Mr. Russell, 38, was appointed by Michael P. Angelos, who had held that job until recently being elevated to the executive director's job. Mr. Russell has served as the MPA's director of finance and chief financial officer since 1989.

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