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IT'S BEEN 18 months since Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. shareholders received their last dividend from the beleaguered utility, and it looks like they'll have to wait a few months longer.

Arthur H. Medalie, an analyst for Value Line Investment Survey, said in a recent report that he doesn't expect NMP to restore its dividend until the second half of 1991. For now, he expects shareholders to receive 30 cents a share in dividends next year, "and if earnings continue to move higher, annual increases are likely thereafter," he says.

Still, Medalie's forecast is a sobering one for NMP shareholders, who have heard several other analysts predict that the dividend could be restored several months earlier and at a higher rate. Prudential-Bache Securities, for instance, expects the dividend to be restored this spring at a rate of 80 cents a share.

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