WILLIAMS telecom stock drops sharply

Wednesday, August 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Stock in Tulsa-based Williams Communications Group has plunged again and analysts predict the company will have a difficult time pulling out of its downward spiral.

``The markets are telling you there is a high probability that they are going to have difficulty surviving in their current form,'' said Steven Remchuk, regional investment executive in Tulsa for Banc One Investment Advisors.

The company's stock dropped 12 percent to $1.46 by the end of trading Tuesday. It was trading at $1.49 early Wednesday.

``I think Williams could be another of those companies who won't make it,'' said Peter Cohan, a Massachusetts financial analyst and author of ``e-Stocks.''

Based on the price of shares and possibility that the company won't be able to meet a Sept. 30 financial obligation, Cohan said the company finds itself in a bad financial situation.

Other analysts say Williams can overcome its problems.

``A company like Williams, I think, has a really bright future despite the problems we're seeing today,'' said Rod Woodward, telecom services industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan in San Antonio.

He said Williams has a lot of debt but also has a good business plan and successful customers like telephone company SBC Communications.

Tulsa financial analyst Fred Russell said he remains optimistic, although he has taken a $7,000 paper loss on his Williams investment.

``I believe Williams Communications will survive, but undoubtedly I am in the minority,'' he said.

He said Williams is ahead of its time since it has built a 33,000 mile fiber network to deliver services such as the Internet to huge corporations. Some reports say communications companies have vastly overbuilt these networks.