Originally created 09/06/97

Business briefs



Retailer expects to reach Christmas

WILMINGTON, Del. - Montgomery Ward & Co., struggling to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, told its creditors Friday it has enough cash on hand to last through the make-or-break Christmas season.

Montgomery Ward, the nation's largest privately owned retailer, sought bankruptcy protection in July after years of declining sales.

The company, which has a store in Augusta at Regency Mall, revealed to creditors Friday that it lost $365 million in the first half of this fiscal year, with $221 million of that coming in the second quarter. The company also is revising projections for its second-half performance, but John Workman, the company's chief financial officer, declined to say whether they were being lowered.

Ward has $270 million in cash on hand, enough to last through Christmas because about two-thirds of its vendors have agreed to ship goods under normal trade terms, said Mr. Workman.

If needed, Ward also can tap into a $1 billion loan from GE Capital, the finance unit of General Electric Co. that owns 57 percent of Ward, all of its credit card operations and has pumped millions of dollars into the flagging retailer.

Delinquent payment kills hotel

COLUMBIA - Plans for a hotel at Columbia Metropolitan Airport have been scrapped after a developer failed to make a bond payment, which was necessary to secure the deal.

Atlantic Hotel Associates had planned to develop a 100-room Club Hotel by Doubletree near the terminal. Airport commissioners withdrew the contract on Thursday after "protracted efforts" to make the deal work, according to airport Director Bob Waddle.

Mr. Waddle said the commission would invite other developers to submit plans for a hotel in the coming months.

The development was presented to the commission by former state Rep. Lenoir Sturkie, who was disbarred by the state Supreme Court earlier this week after he admitted that he misused more than $150,000 in clients' money.

The project was part of the airport's larger plan to make itself more economically self-supporting.

Restaurant chain changes name

ATLANTA - Morrison Fresh Cooking Inc. (NYSE: MFC) Friday announced that it has changed its name to Morrison Restaurants Inc.

The company also announced that in connection with this name change, the New York Stock Exchange trading symbol for its Common Stock will be changed to MRN effective Monday.

Morrison Restaurants Inc. is a 250-million dollar restaurant company with 150 restaurants in 13 states located in the Southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions.