Saturday, January 29, 2000


Orr named chairman of Convergys Corp.

        James F. Orr, president and CEO of Convergys Corp., Friday was elected chairman of the Cincinnati billing services and customer care provider, succeeding Charles S. Mechem Jr., who will retire as chairman at the company's April 25 annual meeting.

        Mr. Orr has been president and CEO of Convergys since it was spun off as a separate company in 1998 from Cincinnati Bell Inc. Mr. Mechem, formerly Bell's chairman, has been chairman of Convergys since the spinoff.

        Mr. Orr, formerly chief operating officer of Bell, spent 20 years in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble Co. before joining the telephone company.

        Convergys, which employs 41,000 globally, has $1.8 billion in revenues.

Eagle-Picher parent sees net loss in '99
        Eagle-Picher Holdings Inc., parent of Cincinnati's Eagle-Picher Industries Inc., reported a wider net loss on higher revenues in fiscal 1999.

        The diversified manufacturing company reported a loss of $17.6 million last year, vs. a loss of $13.6 million in the prior year.

        Revenues increased to $913.3 million from $851.8 million in the prior year.

        EBITDA, earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization and certain other one-time expenses, increased to $115.4 million from $114.4 million in the prior year.

        The company, acquired by Dutch-based Granaria Holdings B.V. in 1998, completed the previously announce sale of its Ross Aluminium Foundries Division Thursday for $24.6 million in cash.

American Annuity plans charge of 15 a share
        American Annuity Group Inc. will take an after-tax charge of about 15 cents a share against fourth-quarter earnings to pay for replacing multiple computer systems with a comprehensive system, the company said Friday.

        The charge also includes expenses from the elimination of several jobs last year. American Annuity, a unit of American Financial Group Inc., said it had not determined how much it would save from the move, but that savings would be realized during the next several years.

Scotts' losses triple in 1Q as expenses rise
        Scotts Co., the world's largest supplier of consumer lawn and garden products, said its fiscal first-quarter losses almost tripled from a year earlier as expenses rose.

        The Marysville, Ohio-based maker of Ortho garden pesticides and Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer said its losses widened to $29.6 million, or $1.28 a share, from $10 million, or 68 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Still, the company's results were better than the average $1.38 loss estimated by four analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

        The company traditionally loses money in its first quarter because most of its sales take place in February through July. The company spent more on advertising and promotion, aiming at boosting sales in its second and third quarters, said James Halloran, an analyst with National City Bank, which holds about 159,000 shares.

        Sales rose 3.9 percent to $191.5 million. Operating expenses rose 29 percent to $99 million, while interest expense rose 142 percent to $23.7 million.

        — From staff and wire reports


Enquirer seminar offers tips
Hotel for Internet services
Former P&G president dies
Elder-Beerman wraps up sale of shoe chain
Stocks weaker at week's end
Stock exchanges to quote shares in dollars, cents
Amazon takes hit on layoff news
Fourth-quarter growth: 5.85%