Markets: Closed yesterday
South Korea reprimanded senior financial executives of Samsung and Hyundai Investment Trust Management for illegal trade practices. At Hyundai, 18 executives were accused of using costumer deposits to buy bonds from another Hyundai subsidiary at higher-than-market prices last year. At Samsung, 42 employees were similarly reprimanded for providing $382 million in loans to Samsung Motors without collateral.
The buyout of Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan by a U.S.-led investment group was approved by Japanese officials. Under the agreement, New York-based Ripplewood Holdings and several other firms will invest $1.76 billion in the bank and apply for $2.35 billion in funds from the Japanese government.
Venezuela's economy shrank for a second year, extending a recession to six consecutive quarters, as government spending cuts and investor concern over President Hugo Chavez's first year in office hurt the economy. The country's gross domestic product fell 7.2 percent during the year after contracting 0.1 percent in 1998, according to preliminary Central Bank figures.
The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading yesterday, a dollar bought 102.93 yen, up from 102.14 late Thursday, and a euro bought $1.0110, down from $1.0156.
Panama has proposed selling its 49 percent stake in Instituto de Telecomunicaciones, the country's only phone carrier. The holding, worth about $800 million, would be sold at auction or on Panama's stock market.
OTG Software of Bethesda registered for an initial public offering of its stock. SEC documents said the company plans to sell up to $69 million in common stock. The share price was not disclosed. OTG plans to use the proceeds to make capital expenditures and repay debt. OTG, which provides online data storage manage-
ment and data access solutions, had $17 million in sales in 1998.
Flowserve, which makes industrial pumps and valves for oil refiners and pipeline companies, will fire 630 workers, or 9 percent of its worldwide staff, and take a charge against fourth-quarter earnings as it closes some facilities. The Irving, Tex., firm plans to release details of a restructuring program next month.