Bell Selling Computer Divisions

Posted: December 12, 1987

Bell Atlantic Co. of Philadelphia announced yesterday that it was selling its computer-distribution and -service divisions in Canada and Frazer, Chester County, to a California firm for $148 million in cash.

The predecessor of the California firm, MAI Basic Four Inc., sold those same divisions to Bell Atlantic in 1985. The Frazer portion being sold maintains MAI Basic Four computer equipment and is part of Sorbus Inc., the Bell Atlantic subsidiary.

Sorbus is part of a Bell Atlantic computer-maintenance group that generated

revenues of $243 million in this year's first nine months. The company reported overall revenues of $7.7 billion during that period.

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Mortgage rates were mixed this week, with fixed-rate loans increasing from 10.6 percent to 10.66 percent and adjustable-rate deals dropping from 7.95 percent to 7.91 percent, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said. In the Philadelphia area, fixed rates increased from 10.77 percent to 10.8 percent, and adjustable rates rose from 8.26 percent to 8.27 percent, according to Mortgage Reporting Service Inc. in Jenkintown.

Lukens Inc. of Coatesville said its Energy Coatings Co. unit will purchase some assets of the U.S. operations of Bredero Price Inc., an international pipe-coating company, for an undisclosed amount. The purchase will include seven plants in the United States and an exclusive license to use Bredero Price patents and trademarks in the United States and Canada. The acquisition should be completed by February 1988.

Bryn Mawr Bank Corp. has increased its regular quarterly dividend by 10 percent from 30 cents a share to 33 cents a share, payable Feb. 1 to shareholders of record on Jan. 8.

Communications Test Design Inc. of West Chester said it has bought Newcorp Products Inc. Both companies repair and maintain computers; CTDI specializes in AT&T equipment, while Newcorp focuses on Digital Equipment Corp. machines. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PNC Financial Corp. and First BanCorp Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, said shareholders of First BanCorp have voted to approve the agreement to merge the two institutions. The merger, which has been approved by federal and state regulators, is expected to be completed early in 1988. PNC, based in Pittsburgh, is the parent of Philadelphia's Provident National Bank.

The 13 OPEC oil ministers canceled a scheduled meeting after failing to agree in private negotiations on a price for their oil, but they held out hope they would reconvene in a full session today. The ministers are trying to reach a pricing and production accord that could be supported by all 13 countries.

SunGard Data Systems Inc. of Wayne and Eloigne Corp. of Minneapolis said they have reached an agreement for SunGard to acquire Eloigne by the end of the year. Terms were not revealed. Both companies operate computer facilities for use by corporations whose own computers are temporarily disabled by fire or other catastrophes.

Total funds held in individual retirement plans rose by $69 billion, or 24 percent, to an estimated $351 billion during the 12-month period ended June 30, a public-policy research group said. The nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute said in the year-earlier period, contributions rose by $74.1 billion, or 35.6 percent. Last year's tax law limited the deductibility of retirement-plan contributions for individuals.

Florida Gov. Bob Martinez signed a law repealing Florida's 5 percent services tax, which caused a national furor in the business community and political grief for the state's leaders. The legislation enacts a $1 billion increase in the sales tax on goods to replace revenue lost by the repeal.

Harvard University's multibillion-dollar endowment dropped 7.2 percent in value when the stock market crashed on Oct. 19, the university said. The endowment's decline amounted to $290 million, but the percentage drop was far less than the 22.6 percent fall the market took in its worst plunge ever.

General Motors Corp. of the United States and Toyota of Japan, the world's largest carmakers and fierce competitors, said their Australian subsidiaries would join forces. Spokesmen for the car giants said they would cooperate in manufacturing several car models as part of a government-forced plan in Australia to restructure the nation's ailing car industry.

The Export-Import Bank of Japan said it has pledged two loans totaling up to $389 million to help finance bauxite development and a hydroelectric project in Venezuela.

Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corp. said it would end discussions on its acquisition by the Henley Group and proceed instead with a restructuring plan that would provide shareholders with at least $4 billion in cash or stock by early next year.

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