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Western Union Reports $58-Million Loss for Year

March 07, 1985

Western Union Corp. said it lost $62.2 million in the fourth quarter, producing a 1984 loss of $58.4 million. It was the second consecutive annual loss for Western Union, which posted a $59-million deficit in 1983, largely because of a $110-million write-off of old equipment.

In the latest quarter, Western Union's loss came on revenue of $289.1 million. A year earlier, the company lost $125.8 million on revenue of $269.4 million because of the equipment write-off.

Full-year revenue rose to $1.13 billion from $1.04 billion, the company said.

Western Union is involved in a costly effort to develop its electronic mail service, which Western Union now considers its flagship business, at a time when its traditional lines--telex, telegrams and communications satellites--are showing only modest growth.

The result has been a severe cash squeeze, which has prompted Western Union to omit its quarterly stock dividend for the past two quarters as part of its bid to cut costs.

"We have a challenging first half ahead of us as we continue to recover from the liquidity crisis we experienced in the fourth quarter of 1984," Robert S. Leventhal, Western Union's third chief executive in the past seven months, said in a statement.

"We are planning for a better second half and, based on the actions we are taking, I believe those plans are realistic," he said.

For detailed data and results of other companies, please see tables, Page 15.

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