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NYSEG REPORTS GAINS IN EARNINGS, REVENUES

New York State Electric & Gas Corp. recorded a profit of $25.9 million for the third quarter, despite costs for takeover defenses as the company fought off an unwanted suitor. The Binghamton-based utility said operating revenues rose 7.6 percent to $492.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Electricity sales totaled 6.3 million megawatt-hours, versus 5.4 million a year ago. Total gas sales declined slightly, to 7.4 million dekatherms from 7.9 million in 1996.

Profits were $25.9 million, or 38 cents a share, versus $8.6 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago.

Per-share profits were aided by a reduction in outstanding shares, from 71.4 million to 67.5 million.

Last year's quarter was hit by a 14 cent per-share write down for the company's investment in EnerSoft Corp. The third quarter of 1996 also saw deeper losses from NGE Enterprises Inc., NYSEG's subsidiary for new ventures.

However, those gains were partly offset by a 24-cent per-share charge for takeover defense fees in the third quarter of 1997, the company said. NYSEG fought off a hostile takeover bid of $1.9 million from CalEnergy Co. during the period.

For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, NYSEG saw operating revenues of $2.08 billion vs. $2.07 billion. Profits rose to $174.8 million, or $2.54 per share, versus $171.8 million, $2.40 per share.

NYSEG's stock fell 37 1/2 cents Friday to $27.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mark IV to offer $275 million in debt

Mark IV Industries Inc. said Friday it is offering a $275 million private placement of convertible subordinated debt due in 2004.

The interest rate, the price at which the notes will be convertible into common stock and other terms of the placement have yet to be determined.

The Amherst-based automotive and industrial products manufacturer will grant the initial purchaser an option to buy an additional $41.25 million of notes solely to cover over-allotments.

Mark IV said it will use proceeds of the sale to refinance its $258 million in outstanding 8 3/4 percent senior subordinated notes due April 1, 2003.

Announcement of the new debt placement comes just two months after Mark IV said it had raised $250 million by selling a series of junk bonds. The firm used $140 million of the notes to pare down bank debt and the remainder to help pay for acquisitions.

Buffalo stocks decline in week

Buffalo area stocks fell this week, led by Ingram Micro Inc., Cummins Engine Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc.

The Buffalo Bloomberg Stock Index, an employee-weighted list of 58 companies with operations in the region, fell 4.67, or 2.45 percent, to 185.61 this week. Even so, the index still is up 38.72 percent so far this year.

Leading losing issues, shares of Ingram Micro fell 3- 1/1 6 to 23 7/8 this week.

Cummins Engine shares fell 11 5/8 to 67- 3/1 6 this week.

American depositary receipts of U.K.-based HSBC Holdings Plc, fell 16 1/2 to 299 this week. Buffalo-based HSBC Americas is an HSBC subsidiary that includes Marine Midland Bank.

Among gaining issues, Graham Corp. shares rose 3 to 22 3/4 this week.

This week, the Buffalo Bloomberg Index outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 index, though it underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index.

In other business news

CPC International Inc., whose brands include Mazola margarine, Hellmann's mayonnaise and Skippy peanut butter, said Friday it will change its name to Bestfoods, effective Jan. 1. The change reflects the planned spinoff of the company's $1.5 billion corn refining business, to be completed by year's end. That company will be called Corn Products International. The New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol for Bestfoods will be BFO starting Jan. 5. Corn Products International's ticker symbol will be CPO.

AT&T Corp. stock jumped nearly 4 percent on Friday amid reports that the nation's largest long-distance company planned to choose the head of Hughes Electronics Inc. as its next leader. AT&T was expected to announce early next week that it selected Hughes chief executive C. Michael Armstrong to succeed Robert E. Allen, AT&T's outgoing chairman and chief executive, CNBC reported. AT&T stock rose $1.62 1/2 to $45.18 3/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trying to unclog rail lines congested in part because of a merger that made it the nation's largest railroad, Union Pacific said Friday it was suspending six of the 50 trains it runs daily between Chicago and Texas.

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