Chesterton Tribune

Bethlehem stock delisted from NYSE

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Trading of Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s stock has been suspended on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to a statement released today, trading of Bethlehem’s common stock, $5 and $2.50 cumulative convertible preferred stock, and 8.45 percent debentures due March 1, 2005, have all been suspended on the NYSE.

Effective today, the statement said, Bethlehem’s common stock is being quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board (“OTCBB”) under the new ticker symbol “BHMS.”

Meanwhile, its $5 (BHMSO) and $2.50 (BHMSN) cumulative convertible preferred stocks are not currently being quoted on the OTCBB, but Bethlehem does expect them to be in the future, provided market makers file the appropriate applications with the OTCBB. Similarly, the company expects the 8.45 percent debentures to be quoted on the National Quotation Service’s “Yellow Sheets,” provided that market makers file those applications as well.

The de-listing of Bethlehem stock follows the company’s notification of the NYSE in December that its stock had fallen before the NYSE’s continued listing criteria relating to minimum price. The NYSE requires a company’s stock to trade at a minimum share price of $1 over a 30-day trading period. Bethlehem fell below $1 with the announcement Oct. 15 of its bankruptcy and has remained there ever since. It closed at 25 cents Tuesday.

The NYSE did grant Bethlehem a grace period of six months in which to conform to the continued listing criteria.

In practical terms, the de-listing of Bethlehem’s stock will have little impact on its efforts to survive Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Historically, however, it proves a watershed of sorts, the latest watershed in a period which has seen the builder of Liberty ships in World War II founder and struggle for life. Bethlehem was founded in 1904 and its stock began to trade on the NYSE not long after, in 1906. In 1928 it became a blue chip traded on the Dow, where it remained until 1997, when it returned to the NYSE.

Bethlehem’s old stock symbol—BS—is itself an artifact of happier times. The shorter a company’s symbol, the older the company tends to be.


Posted 6/12/2002