American called best airlineAmerican Airlines has...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 25, 1995

American called best airline

American Airlines has overtaken Southwest Airlines to become the nation's best major airline, a survey said yesterday.

The 1995 Airline Quality Rating, compiled by researchers at Wichita State University and the University of Nebraska, is based on a host of factors including safety, on-time performance, age of fleet and traveler complaints.

Dallas-based American, the nation's largest carrier, also had been rated the best for three years before Southwest pushed it aside last year. Southwest ranked second this year. Continental Airlines again was ranked last.

Following American and Southwest in the ratings were United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, USAir, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, Trans World Airlines and Continental.

Pa. bank buys Reisterstown Federal

Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. of Lititz, Pa., said yesterday that it has completed the acquisition of Reisterstown Holdings Inc., parent of Reisterstown Federal Savings Bank.

The deal is the second of three planned Maryland thrift purchases by Susquehanna. The others are Atlanfed Bancorp Inc., which was completed a month ago, and Fairfax Financial Corp., which is expected to be finished late this year. Susquehanna has $2.45 billion in assets.

Profits soar at Preferred Health

Preferred Health Network, a privately held health maintenance organization based in Baltimore, earned $434,000 in the first quarter of 1995, a nearly ninefold increase over the same period last year.

Revenue for the first three months was $18.1 million, a 28 percent increase. The company, which is 85 percent owned by hospitals in the region, has more than 45,000 subscribers.

Chiron to acquire Viagene

Chiron Corp. of Emeryville, Calif., said yesterday that it would acquire Viagene Corp., a leading gene therapy company based in San Diego, at a 67 percent premium over Viagene's closing stock price Friday, in a deal valued at about $95 million.

Chiron offered a choice of $9 a share in cash, or the equivalent in Chiron shares, for the roughly 83 percent of Viagene it does not already own.

Boeing outperforms projections

Boeing Co. reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings yesterday, and its stock rose to its highest point in almost five years.

While its net income fell 38 percent from a year ago, business for the world's largest jetmaker is expected to pick up as the commercial aircraft slump nears its end. Seattle-based Boeing said net income fell to $181 million, or 53 cents a share, from $292 million, or 86 cents, a year ago. Its shares ended at $56.875, up $1.125.

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