Slow Locomotion At Morrison Knudsen

OF LATE, MORRISON KNUDSEN has been struggling. Yet the engineering outfit seems to be dragging its feet in selling a prized asset: a 65% share of MK Rail, which makes locomotives and components.

The stake, with a market value of $70 million, was put on the block in March to raise needed cash. Yet a potential buyer says he's getting nowhere. "I've made it very clear we're interested, but we've not been able to get any positive response from Morrison Knudsen, MK Rail, or its investment bankers," says Thomas M. Begel, chairman of Johnstown America Industries, a railcar manufacturer.

His frustration is apparently shared by some board members at the parent company. A source close to the board says the sales process is being slowed by MK Rail's failure to provide a full financial picture. It delayed issuing results for 1994 and the first quarter of 1995, but expects losses in both periods. A Morrison Knudsen spokesman says: "We are continuing to communicate with MK Rail in our mutual efforts to find a buyer."

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