Originally created 03/03/98

Additional business news

Growth accelerates in manufacturing

NEW YORK -- In the first broad reading on the just-ended month, an association of factory executives reported that growth in the nation's manufacturing sector accelerated in February.

Economists had predicted no change in the monthly report by the National Association of Purchasing Management, which also said prices paid for factory supplies continued to fall in February, but at a slower pace.

The inflation-sensitive bond market slid after the report, which undermined arguments that the economic crisis in Asia will slow the U.S. economy enough to keep price pressures in line.

As bond prices fell, the yield on the 30-year Treasury -- a key influence on borrowing costs -- edged above 6 percent. The yield dropped below that level in December, spurring hopes that increased borrowing and spending here would offset the economic drag from Asia.

Bancshares seeks stock offering

Georgia-Carolina Bancshares Inc. has registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct a proposed public offering of up to 740,741 shares, pending approval by shareholders and other conditions.

The common stock, at $13.50 per share, is issued entirely by the company whose officers and directors receive no commission for shares sold.

The bank holding company, which wholly owns Thomson-based First Bank of East Georgia (formerly McDuffie Bank & Trust) will use proceeds from the stock sale to expand banking operations into Augusta and Columbia County.

Patrick G. Blanchard, president and chief executive officer, said he was constrained from describing the offer in detail by SEC regulations.

UPS reports increase in profits

ATLANTA -- United Parcel Service on Monday reported a $351 million profit in the fourth quarter of 1997, a 42 percent increase from a year earlier and a show of recovery from last summer's strike.

But the privately held company's profits for 1997 as a whole were down from 1996. UPS also disclosed that, with its domestic truck delivery volume still below pre-strike levels, its worldwide work force has 7,000 fewer people than before the walkout.

The work force was reduced by attrition, not layoffs, said Norman Black, a UPS spokesman. He said UPS actually has hired new workers to replace some of the 15,000 part-time employees who did not return after the strike.

The 185,000 Teamsters who work for the delivery service walked out for 15 days in August in the first nationwide strike against the 90-year-old UPS. For the July-September quarter, UPS reported a $10 million loss, its first quarterly loss since 1992.


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