Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, April 19, 1999

HawTel, union agree to 3-year contract

GTE Hawaiian Tel and the union representing 2,107 of its employees said today they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that will lift wages 10.8 percent through three years.

The contract also will give workers the opportunity to add another 10 percent to their pay through the life of the three-year contract under an incentives program.

The agreement, with Local 1357 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, comes more than four months before the Aug. 31 expiration of the current contract. Bargaining was intense nevertheless, said Harold Dias, Local 1357 business manager. The contract, which goes into effect Sept. 1 subject to ratification by union members, adds a new lump-sum pension payout option, starting Jan. 1 2000, plus other employee benefits. The union agreed to changes in work rules that give the company greater flexibility, a joint statement said.

Telecom giants to merge in Europe

LONDON -- Telecom Italia SpA and Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG are expected to announce tomorrow that they are merging in a mega-deal that would create a new global competitor to U.S. giants such as AT&T Corp.

The two firms' chief executives -- Franco Bernabe and Ron Sommer -- will outline the merger agreement at a news conference in London, said an official at Telecom Italia who spoke on condition of anonymity. A Telecom Italia-Deutsche Telekom combination would dwarf its competitors in Europe. However, the deal could be upstaged by yet another that is reportedly in the works. The German business weekly Manager Magazin issued a news release today saying that Deutsche Telekom is also negotiating a takeover of Sprint Corp.

In other news . . .

ATLANTA -- BellSouth Corp., which provides local phone services in the Southeast, said it will buy 10 percent of Qwest Communications International Inc. for $3.5 billion in cash to include long-distance and data in its services for business customers.


Of Mutual Concern

News for mutual fund investors

Fidelity cuts exposure to technology stocks

BOSTON -- The managers of some of Fidelity Investments' biggest equity mutual funds, including Robert Stansky, who runs the flagship Magellan Fund, have trimmed their exposure to technology stocks during the first quarter.

"If you do the math, it certainly looks like Fidelity scaled back a bit on their technology holdings," said Eric Kobren, executive editor of Fidelity Insight, an independent newsletter that tracks the world's biggest fund company.

The $90.8 billion Magellan Fund had 20.9 percent of its assets in tech stocks at the end of March, down from 25.8 percent at the end of December, according to reports from Fidelity. Other Fidelity funds that had less assets in tech stocks at the end of March were the Growth & Income Fund and the Contrafund.

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