Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Tristate Summary

Concerns hurt AEP's stock

Shares of Columbus-based American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. utility owner, had their biggest decline since October on concern that profit will slide as the company sells assets and stock to cut debt.

The shares fell $1.79, or 7 percent, to $23.86 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest decline since Oct. 9.

The drop extended Friday's 4.6 percent slide, which came after the company announced its widest loss in at least a decade and said it will cut its dividend by 42 percent.

American Electric intends to sell stock and assets to maintain its credit rating, which might be cut after cash flow to pay debt declined because of lower power prices and a collapse in electricity trading sparked by the bankruptcy of Enron Corp.

Cintas raises dividend 8%

Cintas Corp., the Mason uniform supplier, has raised its annual dividend 8 percent to 27 cents a share from 25 cents.

The new payout, the 20th consecutive increase in the company's dividend, is payable March 14 to shareholders of record Feb. 7

This year, Cintas is marking its 20th anniversary as a public company.

Diebold acquires Data Information

North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold Inc., best known for its automated-teller machines, has become a start-to-finish voting company as well.

The company last week said it acquired Data Information Management Systems, one of the largest voter registration companies in the United States.

The price was not disclosed.

Based in Costa Mesa, Calif., Data Information has provided voter registration systems and support for more than 22 years in a variety of jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County.

- Staff and wire reports

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