Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Tristate summary

Convergys falls on IBM contract news

Shares of Convergys Corp., which provides billing and customer-care services for phone and cable companies, fell Tuesday after reports that Sprint Corp. hired International Business Machines Corp. to run customer service at the long-distance telephone company's wireless unit. Shares of Cincinnati-based Convergys fell $1.33 to close at $15.54. In December, Convergys renewed a contract with Sprint to handle billing for Sprint's PCS mobile-phone business for another seven years. Convergys' contract with Sprint "agreed in December was for billing, not customer services, and that is in full effect," said John Pratt, a spokesman for Convergys. He declined to comment on Sprint's customer-care agreement with IBM.

Hillenbrand signs deal for Mediq

Hillenbrand Industries Inc. said it completed its earlier announced acquisition of Mediq Inc., which rents and manages medical equipment for health-care facilities, for about $330 million. The acquisition is part of Hillenbrand's strategy to expand the offering of its Hill-Rom health-care unit. Mediq, based in Pennsauken, N.J., has revenues of $161 million and 900 employees in 46 states.

Steel company negotiating sale

Southern Ohio Fabricators Inc., which provided structural steel for some of Cincinnati's best-known structures including Paul Brown Stadium, is being sold to an unnamed group. Tim Gates, president of the 57-year-old Batavia company, said it was negotiating the sale of its assets, but he declined to reveal the prospective purchaser. As part of that change in ownership, the company notified state officials that it will terminate 150 employees by the end of March. Gates said he expected the new owner to rehire "a significant'' number of the employees.

Staff and wire reports

Ford set to take over Batavia plant
Star witness tells of tip to Stewart
High-tech-fund details available
Scion opens new doors for Toyota
P&G, Wella shareholders at crossroad
CFC opening board to more outsiders
Toyota, Chrysler enjoy bump in Jan. sales; Ford, GM slump
Aventis workers protest hostile Sanofi takeover
Hollywood designer wants classy, sexy look for crews
Ruling against Ohio firm upheld
Business digest
Tristate summary