The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 31, 1998 · Page 24
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March 31, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 24

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, March 31, 1998
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r .TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 1998 The Palm Beach Post PAGE 6 HOME SALES SURG! Sales of new homes hit an I adjusted rate of 893,000, "' breaking a record from 1986 STORY, 11B Codes for 24-hour financial updates Page 11B B m Pratt's parent company paid CEO $12 million in '97; didn't exercise any stock options, so his take dropped from 1996, ; Pratt & Whitney's president made . $1.85 million in salary and bonuses. By Stephen Pounds Palm Beach Post Staff Writer George David, chairman and chief executive of Pratt & Whitney's parent company, United Technologies, was paid $12 million last year almost double his 1996 pay, company documents disclosed Monday. David received $1.1 million in salary and $2 million in bonuses and other compensation. He exercised 164,060 stock options, which brought him a paper profit of $8.9 million, the difference between the exercise price and the market price of United Technology stock, according to the company's proxy. In 1996, he was paid $6.7 million, including $2.5 million in salary and bonuses and $4.2 million from stock options. Karl Krapek, president of Pratt & Whitney and a United Technology board member since last year, made $1.85 million in salary and bonuses. But Krapek when he received $1.33 million in salary and bonuses as well as $1.66 million from stock options. Both execs increased their pile of stock options in 1997, ac- 375,000 shares in United Technologies, upping his total to 2.1 million. His new options are valued at $8.8 million, according to the proxy. Krapek received options for 150,000 shares, increasing his total to 934,000. His new options are valued at $3.5 million. Are they worth it? United Technologies had record sales and profits in 1997, but its total shareholder return on investment or share-price appreciation for the period, plus dividends trailed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Dow currency devaluation in the sec ond half of last year. Analyst Paul Nisbet said th pay packages are fair. "The firm has made a very sig nificant turnaround since Georgt David took the helm. It's far mon profitable and has far less oper ating problems," said Nisbet oi JSA Research. "It's become very internationally oriented and is exploiting those markets very well. They're probably worth whatever they're being paid." United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) closed Monday at $90.94 a share, down 44 cents. Jones industrial average. UTs earnings for each diluted share increased 21 percent to $4.21 from $3.48. Net income jumped 18 percent to $1.1 billion from $906 million. Sales improved 5 percent, to $24.7 billion from $23.5 billion. But total shareholder return was 12 percent, less than the S&P 500's 33 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average's 25 percent. The company explained those differences away by saying UT has an above-average percentage of revenue from Asia, where the economies were disrupted by Krapek cording to the proxy. for David received options SunTrust settles car insurance lawsuit Pax Net needs about $170 million Analysts expect an offering of preferred stock or a joint venture with an outside investor to raise the money. By Julie Waresh Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Paxson Communications Corp. needs to raise about $170 million to launch its Pax Net television network as planned this summer. - As of Dec. 31, Paxson had commitments to buy, build or operate 38 stations that will be part of its -" " , ; ".K1 ' m". 1 ' mm ....u...... ;,v .-"""f.-- " 'I.--..1 f . . ' ' . .'- ", IkY'- - V t y , 1 ! 1 JIM v , ,. " 'NT; iffT fill VM I !' " ' f1 ! " ' Jill ll ill Jl It.. J.'ll Jiyll'JilLii i . I II II H lunun 77-station family-oriented network set to debut Aug. 31. Between now and then, the company must come up with cash to close those deals and i i r By Sanjay Bhatt Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DAYTONA BEACH SunTrust Banks of Florida Inc. agreed Monday to pay more than $7.6 million to settle allegations it improperly charged car buyers for excessive insurance. Attorney General Bob Butterworth announced the settlement with the Atlanta-based bank holding company, closing a three-year investigation into SunTrust's car loan practices. SunTrust will give cash refunds to customers who no longer owe money and credits to those still paying off their loans, state officials said. The refunds to more than 22,000 customers will range from a few dollars to $2,000. The attorney general's office and four private law firms for the plaintiffs will get $1 million. Any unclaimed money will be donated to a state college or university. ' Volusia County Circuit Judge Peter Marshall gave tentative approval to Monday's settlement, which is scheduled for final approval on June 30. SunTrust then would have 31 days before it must start issuing refunds, said Gerald Richman, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner in Richman THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ( V r J pay iui uie siew oi re- . y"i I runs that Pax Net has I said it will broadcast. Rolls-Royce accepts BMW buyout Pax son i wuuiu anucipaie going to the markets LONDON - Mike Edwards, a commissionaire at a Rolls-Royce dealership, polishes the famous badge and Spirit of Ecstacy statue on the front of a showroom car. Rolls-Royce announced Monday it will sell the luxury car line to German competitor BMW, which has promised a major increase in production. BMW's offer of about $570 million for the automaker beat out competing bids from Germany's Volkswagen and from two groups of British investors who had fought to keep England's best-known car in English hands. at some point in the near future," said Seth Grossman, Pax-son's senior vice president of investor relations and corporate development While Grossman wouldn't say exactly Greer Weil Brumbaugh Mirabito and Christensen W)uld plastic green pay off? in Miami. ; The agreement ends a series of investigations by the attorney general's office into coverages such as insurance against repossession expenses or to ensure payments are made if the buyer defaults. But-terworth's office reached similar agreements in 1996 with First Union National Bank and Ford Motor Credit Co., resulting in refunds of nearly $32.6 million to Florida consumers. Before that, NationsBank settled for $6.5 million and Barnett Banks settled for $19 million, said Manuel Garcia-Linares, an attorney with Richman's law firm, which filed the suits against Barnett and NationsBank. "Unlike any other bank, each branch (of SunTrust) was a separate entity in itself," he said. The Volusia County class action, which consolidated suits throughout the state, names Sun Banks Inc., Sun Bank South Florida, NA and five other SunTrust-owned banks in Florida. From at least Oct 1, 1988, to Nov. 25, 1991, SunTrust's loan contracts with customers allowed it to charge comprehensive and collision insurance if borrowers did not maintain adequate coverage, Garcia-Linares said. But SunTrust also charged Please see SUNTRUST225 Polymer bills are only a blue-sky prospect, but the material is being tested. By Dave Skidmore Ihe Associated Press WASHINGTON The familiar phrase "paying with plastic" may take on an entirely new meaning. The government is testing new materials for the nation's folding money including a tough but flexible plastic. Advocates say plastic, or polymer, bills last longer than paper, are more difficult to counterfeit and don't get all wrinkly if you accidentally leave them in your jeans on laundry day. They're less prone to rejection by change machines and, when worn out, can be recycled into other plastic products. Skeptics worry the public would reject them, that they would force an expensive retooling of currency sorting and counting tnachines and that such a radical change could subtly undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar. The Treasury Department already is in the midst of a multiyear redesign of the nation's currency, the first in nearly six decades. It introduced new $100 notes in 1996 and new $50 bills last year and plans new $20s later this year. The new paper bills feature enlarged portraits, watermarks, a numeral in color-shifting ink and a polymer security thread. Officials aren't sure they want to take another big step. "We're pretty far down the road from making any decision about proceeding," said Treasury Assistant Secretary Howard Schloss. Nevertheless, the department's Bureau of Printing and Engraving is running extensive tests on a variety of materials, including a plastic developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia and a paper-plastic sandwich produced by a Canadian company, Domtar Inc. of Montreal. "We and every other bank note printer in the world are taking a look at this material," said Thomas Ferguson, the bureau's acting director. "We've run some print trials, and we'll be running some more." Australia issued the world's first plastic currency in 1988 and finished converting its notes to the new material in 1996. how much money Paxson will seek to raise, analysts say the company needs about $170 million. Bishop Cheen, who follows Paxson for First Union Capital Markets in Charlotte, N.C., said the company confirmed it plans to raise money through an offering of preferred stock. According to Cheen's calculations, Paxson is facing $394 million in expenses: $263 million for pending station deals, $46 million for programming this year and about $85 million in station construction and other expenses. That includes $16.6 million Paxson is spending for 90 percent of WPXP-Chan-nel 67, the West Palm Beach station that began broadcasting early this month. Even with $120 million in cash on its balance sheet and the $100 million or so it expects to reap on the sales of three stations, Paxson needs money. "He has a capital challenge ahead," Cheen said. On top of that, Paxson is having to juggle its debt According to its annual 10-K filing, Paxson must "use its best efforts" to raise $150 million to repay its lenders by May 31. But the company said it already has a credit commitment to refinance the $122 million outstanding on its $200 million revolving credit facility. Analyst Kevin Kuzio, who follows Omnipoint makes connection in crowded wireless market Paxson for KDP Investment Advisors in Please see PAXSON 12B Dow closed at: 8.782.12. down 13.96 NYSE composite:568.89, down 0.91 Nasdaq: 1.818.70, down 4.92 Amex: 736.45. down 1.88 Toronto: 7.567.91, down 54.62 Dow: Minute by minuU 68201 I I ! 1 I . M10 I Wireless war Monthly Free Per-minute bask rate minutes charge AT&T Wireless Services $19.95 none 45 cents 1-800-IMAGINE 7 a.m.-9 p.m : 1 877-AUTODIAL weekdays; : www.attws.com 25 cents nights, weekends BellSouth Mobility $18.99 none 45 cents 930-1106 (toll free) analog; www.bscc.bls.com 35 cents digital Central Florida Cellular $20 20 40 cents 284-6503 6 a.m.-9 p.m. www.uscc.com weekdays; 25 cents nights, weekends Nextel Communications $40 100 30 cents 1-800-NEXTEL-9 www.nextel.com Omnipoint $9.99 none 39 cents Commufikations 1-8CKBUY-0MNI www.omnipoint.com PrimeCo Personal $19.99 30 35 cents Communications 1800-PRIMECO i www.primeco.com Sprint PCS $16.99 15 35 cents l00-480-4PCS www.sprintpcs.com NOE: Wrees camels frwjueorfy discount the tac rafes. ' I VI SV till By John Murawski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer South Florida, already one of the nation's busiest wireless markets, has a new player Omnipoint Communications. The Cedar Knolls, NJ.-based company made its debut in South Florida last week with a marketing splash: basic wireless service for $9.99 a month. The package includes a slew of freebies: caller ID, voice mail, paging (the phone beeps or vibrates), call waiting, call forwarding and limited e-mail and faxing. South Florida is among the nation's most hotly contested markets. "You're at the top of the heap right now," said Tim Ayers, a spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association in Washington. "It's a market economy. Well see what it can bear." Omnipoint's local fee appears to be considerably less than the $1 9.99 a month it charges for basic service in New York and Philadelphia. But in those two cities, Omnipoint offers 30 free minutes. Florida customers don't get free time for $9.99. Adding the 39 cents a minute Floridi-ans will pay, Omnipoint will cost kxal users S21.69 a month for a half hour. company's deluxe calling plan costs $f4.99 a month. It includes free minutes of air time. Each of the South Florida competitors is trying to pitch a price advantage. For example. lYimeCo Personal Communications doesn't charge long-distance fees for calls within Florida. Nextel Communications, which features a walkie-talkie function that can accommodate up to 99 users at once, doesn't impose roaming fees the extra charge for driving out of range of your company's antenna network. Omnipoint, meanwhile, boasts about its credit card-sized Smart Card, which contains a computer chip that runs the phone. If your phone breaks, or if you need to rent one for use in Europe, you can slide in the Smart Card and use your phone number with the new phone. "If I want to leave my phone and I don't want anyone to use it, I can remove the chip." said Gloria Adams, a Pompano Beach resident who picked up her Omnipoint phone Monday at Metro Beeper in West Palm Beach. "It's even got a pager on here. I don't have to have a separate pager." "This is a full-service secretary," said Arnie Recall, the manager at Metro Beeper. "It's also got a calculator." The store has signed up more than 25 Om-nijKiint customers since Friday, Recalt said. He demonstrated a feature that allows the phone to be used as a tape recorder F or example, a driver could record phone numbers from directory assistance or directions from a friend. Ihe feature is available on Omnipoint's basic phone, which costs $49.95. Omnipoint's priciest phone carries a $999 price tag. Turn over the phone, flip open the back, and it's a palm-size computer. The Nokia WXH also works as a speakerphone. MOO 790 v 7501! , 1 , , Li 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 am. dui. Dow: wook by wook SOOOi 1 I 1 1 I aoo ,"Vr 600 MOO tff 200 i woo -jr J sfiSEJ 3-10 3-24 12 30 1-13 1-27 2-10 2-24 fepjs mtcr m&ei honasvt.

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