Business Digest


September 29, 2004

In the Region

1st Mariner offers direct depositors free ATM service

1st Mariner Bank said that it will soon start offering customers whose paychecks are directly deposited in the bank access to a national network of automated teller machines that won't charge them a $2 fee for withdrawals.

The Baltimore bank plans to begin the service Friday. Customers will have nationwide access to 30,000 ATMs, including 900 in Maryland. The surcharge-free network, called AllpointTM, is owned by ATM National Inc. of Bethesda.

Dennis Finnegan, 1st Mariner's executive vice president of retail banking, said the move is designed to compete more effectively with larger banks and attract checking account business. 1st Mariner has more than $1 billion in assets, 23 branches and 200 ATMs in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Corvis to change name to Broadwing Corp.

Corvis Corp. said yesterday that it will change its name to Broadwing Corp. to reflect the Columbia company's move from producing fiber-optics equipment to providing telecommunications services, after its purchase of Broadwing Communications LLC last year for $91 million..

Corvis also said it plans a 1-for-20 reverse stock split and subsequent stock dividend to bring its stock price and capital structure more in line with peers in telecommunications.

The company said that after the reverse split, it will enact a one-time, one-for-one stock dividend for shareholders of record as of Oct. 8. The number of shares of common stock outstanding after the split and stock dividend will drop to 62 million from 622 million.

Broadwing Corp. will trade under the BWNG ticker symbol on the Nasdaq stock market Oct. 8, shedding its CORV symbol.

Allegheny to sell Ill. plant at loss, write down 2 others

Allegheny Energy Inc. agreed to sell an Illinois power plant to ArcLight Capital Partners LLC for about $173 million and put two other plants up for sale to raise cash to reduce debt.

A loss of about $130 million will be recorded this quarter on the sale of the 672-megawatt Lincoln plant in Manhattan, Ill., Allegheny said. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Allegheny also will take a $280 million write-down this quarter on the value of the two other plants, in Indiana and Tennessee.

The utility, formerly based in Hagerstown, is headquartered in Greensburg, Pa., although it still supplies power in Maryland.


Creditors agree to refinance debt of Euro Disney

Euro Disney SCA creditors agreed yesterday to refinance the company's $2.7 billion in debt with changes to a Walt Disney Co.-led plan announced in June, ending a year of talks with lenders.

Under the new accord, unanimously approved by creditors yesterday, lenders will receive an additional 2 percentage points of interest on a 450 million-euro ($554 million) installment of debt and receive repayment of some senior debt in 2012 instead of 2014, Euro Disney said.

Walt Disney, its French affiliate's controlling shareholder, committed in June to accept deferred payments on 110 million euros it is owed. It also will buy 100 million euros in new Euro Disney shares. That accord, also supported by three French banks, required the backing of all creditors to be implemented.

The bailout is the second in a decade for Euro Disney.

Motorola to cut 1,000 jobs, take $50 million charge

Motorola Inc. said yesterday that it will eliminate 1,000 jobs and take a charge of $50 million for severance benefits as it moves to complete a spinoff of its money-losing semiconductor unit.

The job cuts, most of which will be made by the end of the week, will affect the company's headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., the company said. Motorola has about 88,000 employees worldwide.

Analysts said eliminating the jobs will help streamline the company and make it more competitive against Nokia. The Finnish company holds a commanding lead in the world handset market.

Rigases can't afford legal defense in suit

A bankruptcy judge in New York yesterday denied a request by Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas and his sons to gain access to $3.6 million from family owned cable companies to finance their defense in a $3.2 billion civil lawsuit.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber said the Rigases can ask for the money in October, provided they show that the cable companies have sufficient cash flow and have consented to advance it. The Rigases currently have no money to pay for their defense, said Lawrence McMichael, the family's lawyer.

Adelphia, the fifth-biggest U.S. cable operator, is suing John Rigas, 79, sons Timothy, Michael, and James over claims they misused Adelphia funds to enrich themselves before the company filed for bankruptcy. John Rigas and Timothy Rigas, 48, were convicted of conspiracy and fraud in July. Michael Rigas, 50, faces a retrial after a jury deadlocked on charges against him.

Guzzetta named CEO of Marshall Field chain

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