Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, May 21, 1999

S&P lowers rating on Guam bonds

Standard & Poor's has downgraded the rating for $330 million in Guam bonds, citing the island's continued weak economy and the local government's inability to stick to an austerity plan.

The credit-rating agency yesterday said it lowered the bonds' rating from BBB to BBB- and said the outlook remains negative. S&P noted Guam still suffers from a decline in tourism, the island's chief industry, and has become more dependent on Japanese tourism. Visitor arrivals to Guam fell 18 percent last year to 1.12 million people. S&P also said the local government still must implement many austerity measures to eliminate a budget deficit that is expected to grow to $146.5 million this year. If the deficit problem worsens, the agency said it could lower Guam's rating even more.

Tatibouet to sell some ResortQuest shares

WASHINGTON -- ResortQuest International Inc., the parent of Aston Hotels & Resorts, and some company shareholders have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 4 million common shares.

The stock sale will include 2 million shares that the company will seek to sell and 2 million shares that investors will offer. Among those shareholders is Andre Tatibouet, chairman of Aston Hotels, who plans to offer 427,083 of his 1.71 million ResortQuest shares. Shares of the Memphis, Tenn.-based company ended trading today at $14.75. The number of ResortQuest shares outstanding will increase 11.5 percent to 19.44 million after the sale, according to Bloomberg News.

Olivetti wins bid for Telecom Italia

ROME -- Olivetti SpA, Italy's second-largest phone company, received tenders for more than half of its bigger rival Telecom Italia SpA, securing control and thwarting a rival offer from Germany's ex-monopoly Deutsche Telekom AG. Olivetti will pay at least $33 billion in cash, bonds and stock for the acquisition. It financed most of its hostile bid with debt, which it plans to repay with Telecom Italia's cash flow and assets.

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