Thursday, February 6, 2003

Tristate summary



Staff and wire reports

Viox Services has new owner

Viox Services, Reading-based building maintenance, construction and management company, is now owned by Emcor Group Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based mechanical and electrical construction company.

Emcor acquired Viox's parent, Consolidated Engineering Services Inc., from Archstone-Smith for $178 million in cash. The sale won't mean a change in Viox's name, management or employees, said Mike Viox, president of the local company, which employs 650.

Emcor also owns Fred B. Debra Co., an Oakley mechanical services contractor employing 400.

AFG postpones subsidiary IPO

American Financial Group Inc. has further postponed the initial public offering of the subsidiary handling its auto-insurance units, Infinity Property & Casualty Corp., it said Wednesday.

The company originally had planned to complete the offering Monday, selling more than 12 million shares at $21 to $23 a share. It cut the price to $18 to $20 a share early this week, but soft market conditions have AFG officials reconsidering its options, a spokeswoman said.

Infinity would have been the first initial public offering in the stock market this year. Falling prices and soft demand have deterred many companies from issuing stock.

AFG planned to use the proceeds from the offering - it said it would retain about 30 percent of the stock - to repay debt.

It would then concentrate on specialty insurance such as policies sold to officers and directors, while Infinity would hold the businesses selling insurance to high-risk drivers.

Marshall Field's sells two outlets

Minneapolis-based Marshall Field's plans to close its two stores in Columbus and sell them to May Department Stores, which will operate them as Kaufmann's stores, the companies said Wednesday.

All employees at the 224,000-square-foot suburban Tuttle Crossing and 198,000-square-foot downtown City Center stores will be offered jobs with May, the companies said.

The sale includes the stores' fixtures but not inventory. The deal is expected to close March 21.



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