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5 SouthTrust to buy Ahmanson's 27 Florida branches "Florida is experiencing significant Florida, one of the country's fastest Florida's west coast, adding $974 million in The deal includes Home Savings of America offices in St. Lucie County. Bloomberg News BIRMINGHAM, Ala. SouthTrust Corp. said Thursday it agreed to buy 27 branches from H.F. Ahmanson & Co.'s Home Savings of America unit for $300 million. SouthTrust, based in Birmingham, gains $3.4 billion in deposits on Florida's east coast from Home Savings. growth, and we're pleased to have this opportunity to augment and expand our presence on its east coast," Wallace Malone Jr., chairman and chief executive of South-Trust, said in a statement. "Establishing a new or expanded presence in these desirable new markets Indian River, St Lucie and Dade counties is a key component of our strategy to serve the fastest-growing areas of Florida." U.S. banks are buying one another at a rapid pace to cut costs and increase profitability. growing states, has been the site of significant consolidation. NationsBank Corp., the third-largest bank in the state by deposits, agreed to buy Barnett Banks Inc., which has the most deposits in the state, in August for $14.6 billion. SouthTrust stock (Nasdaq: SOTR) closed at $58.69 Thursday. SouthTrust's purchase of the Home Savings branches is expected to close in the middle of next year. In June, SouthTrust purchased 12 Home Savings of America branches on deposits. , SouthTrust, which has $29.8 billion in assets, operates 174 of its 540 banking offices in Florida. The bank also has offices in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennesr see and the Carolinas. . . . -"JS Home Savings of America, which has $46 billion in assets, operates 301 retail branches in California and 44 in Texas, as well as 125 mortgage lending offices. ' Home Savings will keep making residential mortgage loans in Florida through its 21 mortgage lending offices. . , v, SouthTrust Headquarters: Birmingham, :: Ala. Employees: 9,100 : Business: Operates South-Trust Bank with more than 1 540 offices in Alabama, li. Florida, Georgia, Mississip pi pi. North Carolina, South C. Carolina and Tennessee. 2D THE PALM BEACH POST FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1997 BellSouth hoping to offer 7 national directory assistance to the Public Service Commission for permission to provide the service." The. company plans to apply in January'.-''-f ' The service would cost custohie'r's 85 cents for two long-distance listings; It is already available in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi: Sirhi-lar services are offered by local provid r A By John Murawski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer BellSouth wants to offer its Florida customers national directory assistance by dialing 411. The option would give Floridians a new option in a growing list of choices for directory assistance. . In preparation for the change, the company is renovating its office in Fort Pierce and planning to hire between 120 and 150 employees by March, when its new service will be available. The company plans to undertake a similar expansion in its office in Panama City. Most of the new hires will be operators paid about $8 an hour to search for phone numbers on computer databases. BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. (NYSE: BLS: $54.50) still has to apply ' '',VFr ers arouna uie tommy. AT&T offers a national directory to anyone who dials "00." It costs 95 cents to obtain two listings. ' MCI charges $1.10 to its customers for two listings, or to non-customers who dial 10222, the area code, and 555-1212. MCI says its listings are more accurate because it buys its information directly from local phone companies, not from information vendors. :-' If 1321 h V :n:i imt, f H p ,'13211 1 U.S. extends emergency order in bid to clear rail bottleneck; II I NYSE pushes circuit-breaker rule changes The minor changes would affect when and for how long trading would be delayed. Reuter NEW YORK The New York Stock Exchange said Thursday it would keep its so-called "circuit-breaker" rules essentially intact, although it proposed slight changes to their use at the end of the trading day. The NYSE said it would keep the current 350- and 550-point declines in the Dow Jones industrial average as triggers for the circuit-breakers, instead of moving to percentage changes, which had been widely expected. However, it proposed eliminating the 350-point trigger at 3 p.m., an hour before the market closes. After that time, trading would be halted only if the Dow were to drop 550 points. The NYSE also proposed slight modification to the 550-point trigger. After 2 p.m., it would trigger only a 30-minute halt, instead of a 60-minute halt. However, trading would not resume if the 550-point threshold was tiiggered after 3 p.m. Currently, if the Dow falls 350 points from its previous closing level, all trading is stopped for 30 minutes. If the average falls 550 points, trading is stopped for an hour. The exchange also said it would propose additional modifications to the rules next year, before they expire Jan. 31. The NYSE also said it asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to consider changes to its "safe-harbor" rules to allow companies to buy their ow n shares during that period. Currently, safe-harbor is not available in the last 30-minutes of trading. r I k' n m ft 110313 KV mm hunt The Associated Press WASHINGTON Federal regulators decided late Thursday to extend for three months an emergency order requiring the Union Pacific railroad to cooperate with competitors to clear train congestion that has bottlenecked the western United States. The government's Surface Transportation Board extended its emergency order until March 15. The nation's largest railroad had argued against extending the order, which was to have expired at midnight Thursday, claiming a backlog could be eliminated and rail traffic returned to normal by Jan. 1. But at a daylong hearing Wednesday, railroad customers disputed the claims of progress, and many predicted the situation would last through March. "We conclude that while service is showing signs of improvement, the service recovery to date is not broad enough in scope," the board wrote in its ruling. "Given the improvement that is still needed, we have concluded that the emergency is not yet over." The gridlock along the 36,000-mile system has stranded grain harvests, clogged California ports and stalled production at Gulf Coast petrochemical plants," Northwest lumber yards -and steel mills. ' ' The board directed Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern-Santa Pe railroad to give priority to grain shipments in Midwestern states, where the third-largest corn harvest ever, ,9.35 billion bushels, overflowed grain elevators. Grain elevators already have reported widespread spoilage. "What became clear at the hearing is that there is a lot of grain on the ground that is at risk of spoiling, and that there appears to have been no clear prioritization among grain shipments to ensure that those grain stocks, tha"t need to move first in face receive priority service," the board said. : - : ; The board directed both railroads to file plans by Dec. 12 of how they will prioritize grain shipments and ordered that they report weekly on their pfd-gress in grain states. A THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A trader pauses on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1 8. 1 5 on the day. Bloomberg Palm Beach County Stock Index 154 r-1 i i i n Ihe M75 is Motorola s first " new digital cell phone in years, Only we got the call to introduce Motorola's and it's only available at Sound . Advice. You're definitely going to want this cool, little dynamo1 , - 1 38 I i i i i i i i i U.. .W 1 J ...VL -II A i UCUILOC 1L S IUUUCU W1U1 dii U1C 10-21 9-11 9-22 10-1 10-10 Base value. 100 December 30, 1994 10-30 11-10 11-19 12-1 SOURCE, Bloomberg News new digital cell phone. latest technology. Like a Smart, , Button for easy, one-handed ; The Bloomberg Palm Beach County Index is a price-weighted stock index designed 'to measure the performance of companies in Palm Beach County and the ' Treasure Coast. The 63 companies in the index are publicly traded companies . based in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. ' dialing. 102 memory locations,! A large scrolling LED display. 1 ; And awesome optional featureSj Plus, new digital air time plans to go with it. ColumbiaHCA scraps offices in Jacksonville, Fort Myers including die ability to receive pager-like alphanumeric messages, a power-saving SleefVj Mode, VibraCall Alert that f discreetly notifies you of calls i'Bfctiii 250 minutes il t 500 minutes h iflMiii 900 minutes 40Qminutes igl? 1900 minutes ifrfcv and messages and a dual-mode , that automatically switches . ,1' between digital and analog j systems. All packed into a mere 6 ounces. So pick up one todays You won't find a better deal, JllHnberg AVus NASHVILLE Colum-. ;3)iaIICA Healthcare Corp. has scrapped two division offices in Florida, cutting about 19 adminis-"trative jobs, in line with efforts to ; cut costs and create a smaller ; company with better returns. The largest U.S. hospital and health-care company said it will JLxshut its corporate offices in Jacksonville and Fort Myers by year's "J Tnd. Some employees whose jobs Ire being cut may transfer to other positions within the company. The moves are in line with ;Diew management's reorganization lf Columbia, which the govern-ment is investigating for its Medicare billing. The company says it ;needs less overhead, now that it ;3ias scrapped rapid expansion and 'turned more decision-making back Jto local hospitals. X. "This is part of the new game jplan," said Nancy Weaver, an ana-J-yyst at Stephens Inc. with a "neutral" rating on the stock. "If you're hot expanding, you don't need that kind of structure." !S Shares in Nashville-based Columbia fell six cents to $30.44. Columbia said last month it C" would cut the number of its oper- " : i' . .. . .'i announce consolidation plans over the next month, Columbia spokesman Jeff Prtscott said. About six corporate positions will be cut when the corporate office in Jacksonville is closed. The office's functions will be taken over by a new North Florida division in Tallahassee. Columbia is also closing its corporate office of the Southwest Florida division in Fort Myers, slicing about 13 administrative jobs. Florida's facilities will be reorganized into three divisions from four. Those who have lost their current jobs include North Florida Division President John Kausch and Southwest Florida Division Chief Financial Officer Brooks Turkel. News of the consolidation follows an announcement this week that Columbia will cut 750 home health care jobs in Florida, after patient volume dropped 30 percent over the past year. The home health business, a key focus of the government's inquiry, is already slated for sale. Government officials have investigated Columbia's Medicare billing and other business practices for more than a year. The probe has so far yielded Medicare fraud indictments against three mid-level executives, over an alleged billing error at a Florida hospital. si MOTOROLA Authortmd Cllvlv Bum I WfeGivw n I n Cellular Strvic by I BELLSOUTH Mobility On tho Best Electronics Wert Palm Beach 471-2777 Boca Raton 994-4434 Ft Lauderdale 564-4434 Plantation 452-8445 'III Hollywood 923 -4434 Kialeah Gardens 825-4434 Coral Cables 665-4434 West Kendall 273-1 225 HmJaI 110 JJU . IHMT MM liininMi Mnra muuihuui n:... ..r. i . .. j ..... Wfl Apply (or (he Sound Advice ; - 1 Prpctldfl P.airt ttvlau - - T I "PP'V 'J Prestige Card today ouuui nraiuu toc-HW Viol I UWI fluailllfltfl sural frraiVVttUUm I Dt I DISCayne BOUievaru yjJ-44J4 --,, Requires new cellular activation through Sound Advice and a minimum one-year service commitment. Certain restrictions aoplv Otter good throuah December 12 1QJ7 nr h,io ,,t,ni, inci. ViuiJig umsRius in uau, w 10, uy me 'end of the year. The consolidation in Florida is a concrete sign that plans are going forward. Other regions haven't moved as quickly but are expected to Airtime otter available to new and existing customers. Digital phone and BellSouth Long Distance required. Package minutes will not apply to Florida flat rate roaming Airtime in excess ot package minutes will be charged at a maximum ol 35 cents per minute (or days and 5 cents per minute for weekendsnights A $25 order processing fee will apply for Clear & Simple Value- plans ' Offers cannot be combined Days. 7a m to 10 59p m Monday thru Friday Weekends ! 1 p m Friday to 6.59 a m Monday Nights: 1 1p.m. to 6.59 a.m. Monday through Friday Does not include long ' distance charges, roaming charges or applicable taxes. Subiect to credit approval, deposit and cancellation fee. Limited time otter. Certain restrictions apply Full terms and conditions are cnr,,air .)., n a Denoouin iwouiwy uenuiar service Agreement.