UTILITIES: Cashing In

Playing a losing game ever since the 1935 Holding Company Act, the $957,000,000 North American Co., No. 2 U.S. public-utility holding company,** last week decided to begin cashing in its chips. First stack to go is all blue: its 100% stock interest (2,695,000 common shares) in Union Electric Co. of Missouri.

N.A. picked up Union Electric in 1901 when it had 1,000 customers, about $6,000,000 assets. Now it has 365,000 customers, over $270,000,000 assets. It has also a smart balance between steam and hydro plants (66-34 ratio) and low rates. Deep in the defense program (serving airplane, TNT, cartridge and ordnance...

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