Crude oil prices fall sharplyCrude oil prices fell sharply...

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 06, 1994

Crude oil prices fall sharply

Crude oil prices fell sharply yesterday on word that a jailed Nigerian politician would soon be freed.

But the politician, Moshood K.O. Abiola, rejected the conditions of his release, clouding prospects for ending a month-old oil workers strike in Nigeria, the world's 10th-largest oil producer.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery settled at $19.31 a barrel, down 83 cents at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil workers in Nigeria went on strike July 4 to protest the imprisonment of Mr. Abiola, the apparent winner of a 1993 presidential election that was annulled by the military government.

Consumer debt keeps growing

Consumers kept buying on credit in June, the Federal Reserve said yesterday, as monthly installment debt swelled for a 15th straight month.

Consumer debt grew by $10.89 billion in June, a 15.6 percent annual rate of increase, following upwardly revised growth of $11.46 billion in May -- a 16.6 percent annual rate.

Loans to buy new cars kept rising and credit-card purchases continued strong.

Mayflower Group weighing spinoff

Mayflower Group Inc., a trucking and bus company, said yesterday that it is considering a spinoff or sale of one or both of its businesses.

Mayflower, based in Indianapolis, has hired Smith Barney Inc. to help evaluate its businesses: Mayflower Transit of Carmel, Ind., a household goods mover, and Mayflower Contract Services of Overland Park, Kan., a bus company.

Mayflower said it hasn't made any decisions about the businesses.

Unitrin opposes buyout offer

Unitrin Inc. said it opposes American General Corp.'s $2.6 billion buyout offer because it would violate state and federal antitrust laws.

Houston-based American General disclosed Tuesday that it is offering $50.375 a share for the insurer and consumer lender, a bid that Unitrin initially rejected last month.

Analysts and regulators said that the antitrust argument often is used by takeover targets, but that the law is seldom invoked by regulators.

Unitrin stock rose $2.25, to $49, on volume of 764,600 yesterday, more than eight times the daily trading average. American General fell 37.5 cents, to $28.25.

Jamesway's reorganization plan

Discount retailer Jamesway Corp., which has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for a year, said yesterday that it agreed on a reorganization plan with its unsecured creditors.

Jamesway has 92 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, down from 108 stores a year ago.

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