Slump in car sales hits MarylandThe slump in new-car...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 11, 1995

Slump in car sales hits Maryland

The slump in new-car sales, which has hit dealers across the country since the first of the year, has made its way to Maryland.

According to vehicle registrations compiled by the state Motor Vehicle Administration, sales of new cars and trucks fell 9.2 percent last month compared with April a year ago.

The decline was on top of a 7 percent dip during March -- the first downturn after 21 consecutive monthly gains over year-earlier figures.

The MVA tally shows that 27,419 new vehicles were bought last month, compared with 30,209 in April 1994. The average price was $18,477, nearly $1,000 more than the average new-vehicle price in the same month last year.

Bidding war looms for Grow Group

Grow Group Inc., which agreed last week to a $290 million merger with Britain's Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, said yesterday that it will discuss a $320 million hostile offer from Sherwin-Williams Co., the nation's largest paint producer.

The announcement could spark a bitter bidding war between the American and British paint giants for New York-based Grow Group, analysts said.

Sherwin-Williams made its $320 million hostile offer for Grow Group on Monday, saying it was willing to pay $19.50 a share. That topped the $18.10 a share, or $290 million, ICI agreed to pay for the paint and household products company.

Fila's profit rises 24% for quarter

Fila Holding SpA said its first-quarter earnings grew 24 percent, as sales from its Hunt Valley-based Fila USA unit jumped 38 percent with a big boost from the highly successful introduction of basketball shoes endorsed by Detroit Piston forward Grant Hill.

The Biella, Italy-based parent company said it earned $15.4 million, or 62 cents per American depositary receipt, on sales of $211.6 million. That compares to $12.4 million in the first quarter of 1994, on sales of $153.2 million.

U.S. sales were $124.8 million of the total, but U.S. profits were not disclosed.

PHH, French firm in 3-nation deal

PHH Corp. announced yesterday that it signed an agreement with a competitor in France to provide vehicle management services in France, Belgium and Italy.

PHH did not reveal details of the agreement with Arval Service Lease S.A.

Chrysler cuts '95 sales estimate

Chrysler Corp. said yesterday that it cut its 1995 projection for U.S. car and light-truck sales industrywide to 15.2 million vehicles from 15.5 million vehicles.

Chrysler spokesman Steve Harris said the cut was based on weakness in the auto sales market.

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