TCR_Public/960712.MBX BANKRUPTCY CREDITORS' SERVICE, INC.


Bankruptcy News For:  July 12, 1996



  1. ERNST HOME CENTER, INC. TO REORGANIZE UNDER CHAPTER 11
  2. CALL NOW, INC. TO PURCHASE DEBT OF RETAMA DEVELOPMENT CORP.
  3. COLUMBIA GAS REPORTS EARNINGS
  4. ADVANCED PROMOTION TECHNOLOGIES INC. REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS





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ERNST HOME CENTER, INC. TO REORGANIZE UNDER CHAPTER 11


        


            SEATTLE, July 12, 1996 - Ernst Home Center, Inc. (Nasdaq:
        ERNS) announced today a series of steps to restructure the 103-year
        old retailer around a core group of stores that have been
        historically profitable.  Ernst and its wholly owned subsidiary,
        EDC, Inc., each filed voluntary petitions for protection under
        Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy
        Court for the District of Delaware.  The decision to file for
        bankruptcy protection was prompted by recent operating losses and
        Ernst's need to close unprofitable stores.
        


            In connection with the filing, Ernst indicated that it will
        close twenty-five of its eighty-six stores.  A substantial portion
        of the inventory in the stores will be transferred to Ernst's
        ongoing locations and the remaining portion will be liquidated.
        Employees in the affected stores will be reassigned to other stores
        to the extent possible.  Ernst also intends to take additional steps
        to streamline its operations, reduce overhead, renegotiate or reject
        unfavorable leases and improve operating efficiencies.
        


            Ernst has obtained an $80 million debtor-in-possession financing
        commitment from  Congress Financial, Inc. (Northwest).  Subject to
        Bankruptcy Court approval, Ernst expects to use these funds to meet
        immediate and future inventory needs and for general working capital
        purposes.
        


            Hal Smith, Ernst's president and chief executive officer said:
        "The restructuring will allow us to concentrate on the core group of
        stores that have historically been among our most profitable.  This
        step will enable Ernst to be a leaner, stronger company, fully
        focused on serving our customers and better able to compete in the
        current retail environment.
        


            "This decision was a very difficult step for us to take.  We
        carefully considered what effect such a reorganization would have on
        our employees, customers, suppliers, creditors, stockholders and the
        communities in which we operate, and on balance this was the best
        course available to us.
        


            "From an operating perspective, we expect this process to have a
        positive impact on our business because it will allow us to operate
        our retail stores in a manner which will benefit everyone.  The
        debtor-in-possession loan facility will enable Ernst to replenish
        its inventory and allow us to focus on serving our loyal customers.
        Daily operations and transactions which occur in the ordinary course
        of business will continue as usual."
        


            Ernst is a major home improvement, hardware and garden retailer
        currently operating eighty-six stores in nine states.  Ernst serves
        the "do-it-yourself" and convenience oriented customer, offering a
        comprehensive selection of home improvement products, with
        particular emphasis in the lawn, garden and nursery categories.
        Ernst's first store was opened in 1893 in downtown Seattle,
        Washington.
        


CONTACT:  investors, Douglas Sherk or Chris Danne of Morgen-Walke
        Associates, 415-296-7383, for Ernst Home Center; or media, Art
        Merrick of the The Rockey Company, 206-448-7641, for Ernst Home Center



CALL NOW, INC. AGREES TO PURCHASE SENIOR DEBT OF RETAMA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION


        


            MIAMI SHORES, Fla., July 12, 1996 - Call Now, Inc. (OTC
        Bulletin Board: CNOW) announced today that it has entered into an
        agreement with certain of the senior secured creditors of Retama
        Development Corporation to acquire approximately 93.9% of the senior
        secured debt in the form of industrial revenue bonds of Retama
        Development Corporation for $10,300,000 cash.  Retama Development
        Corporation owns Retama Park Racetrack situated on approximately 230
        acres located in suburban San Antonio, Texas.  Retama Development
        Corporation is seeking reorganization under Chapter 9 of the
        Bankruptcy Act.  Retama Park Racetrack opened for its 95-day 1996
        season in April 1996 and is currently operating a full card of
        thoroughbred races.  The track also offers simulcast betting on
        races from other tracks on a year- round basis.
        


            Call Now anticipates that it will become the major participant
        in the reorganization plan of Retama Development Corporation and
        will seek to acquire control of Retama Park Racetrack.
        


            Under its agreement, Call Now has paid $3,000,000 cash toward
        the purchase of the bonds and is required to pay an additional
        $7,300,000 as final payment by September 20, 1996 in order to
        complete the purchase of the bonds with an original principal value
        of $52,274,000.
        


CONTACT:  William M. Allen, President, 305-751-5115, or Joel
        Bernsten, 305-751-3008, both of Call Now, Inc.



COLUMBIA GAS' SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS INCREASE $25 MILLION DUE TO IMPROVED OPERATING RESULTS IN EACH BUSINESS SEGMENT


        


            WILMINGTON, Del., July 12, 1996 - The Columbia Gas
        System, Inc.
(NYSE: CG) today announced that improved operating
        results in each of its business segments resulted in adjusted second
        quarter net income of $21.2 million, or 39 cents per share.  This
        compares to an adjusted net loss of $4.3 million, or 9 cents per
        share, during the same period in 1995. The $25.5 million improvement
        was due primarily to higher rates now in effect, colder weather and
        higher wellhead prices for natural gas.
        


            Reported net income in the current quarter was $8.2 million, or
        15 cents per share, reflecting an after-tax charge of $18.6 million
        for severance and benefits expenses generated by Project Phoenix, an
        ongoing System-wide reengineering program, that was partially offset
        by a $5.6 million after-tax reduction in the reserve for the loss on
        the sale of Columbia's southwest oil and gas properties that was
        recorded last year.  Reported net income in the second quarter of
        1995 was $30.9 million, or 61 cents per share, which included $7.8
        million in bankruptcy-related charges and the beneficial result of
        not recording $43 million of interest on prepetition debt during the
        Chapter 11 proceedings.
        


            Columbia System Chairman Oliver G. Richard III said the current
        quarter's strong financial showing was the result of higher rates
        that Columbia's transmission and distribution subsidiaries now have
        in effect, increased throughput due to 13 percent colder
        temperatures, and Appalachian natural gas prices that were 33
        percent higher than last year.
        


            He emphasized that each of Columbia's business segments "has
        shown improved operating results in the two quarters since emerging
        from Chapter 11 in late 1995.  Adjusted net income of $172.5 million
        for the first half of 1996 is up 90% over adjusted net income for
        the same period last year.  This pattern emphasizes Columbia's sound
        financial position, the underlying strength of its operating
        companies and their ability to meet the challenges of today's
        competitive energy marketplace."
        


            Richard said that the severance and benefit charges recorded in
        the second quarter are the result of implementing Phase I
        recommendations of Project Phoenix, which was launched in 1995 to
        streamline operations and services and make them more efficient and
        cost-competitive.  The Phoenix studies, which thus far have reduced
        staffing throughout the Columbia System by almost five percent, are
        still underway.  Phase II is expected to be completed and
        substantially implemented by year end with some additional charges
        to earnings likely.
        


                        Second Quarter Operating Results
        


            Second quarter operating income for the transmission segment was
        $38.8 million, an increase of $2.9 million over the same period in
        1995. The increase resulted from higher rates, which Columbia Gas
        Transmission Corp. began collecting subject to refund in February
        1996, that permit recovery of operating costs that have increased
        since the company's last rate case in 1991.  Costs associated with
        the segment's ongoing reengineering program reduced the positive
        effect of the higher rates by $6.1 million.
        


             The distribution segment had a second quarter operating loss of
        $3 million compared to a $7.9 million operating loss in the same
        quarter last year.  The current period includes $15.1 million of
        expense for reengineering initiatives being implemented by the five
        distribution companies to make their operations more efficient and
        customer-oriented. Absent this expense, the distribution units would
        have had operating income of $12.1 million due largely to higher
        rates in effect in four states and 13 percent colder temperatures
        that increased throughput.  In 1995, warm temperatures and higher
        operating costs contributed to the segment's operating loss.
        


            The oil and gas segment had operating income of $6.4 million in
        the current quarter compared to a loss of $200,000 in 1995.  The
        improvement was principally due to Appalachian gas prices that were
        33 percent higher than during the previous period.  The loss in the
        second quarter of 1995 included the results from southwest oil and
        gas operations which were sold effective Dec. 31, 1995.
        


            The other energy segment had an operating loss of $3.1 million
        in the current quarter primarily due to $7.4 million in
        reengineering- related costs.  Absent these costs the segment had
        operating income of $4.3 million, compared to $1.7 million last
        year.  The improvement reflects increased gas marketing activities
        and higher propane margins and sales.
        


            In addition to the strong operating results, Richard listed
        several key developments involving Columbia subsidiaries that
        occurred during the quarter:
        


            A newly-formed nonregulated subsidiary is offering new energy-
        related services such as an appliance repair and warranty program
        and billing insurance to customers.
        


                           Six Month Results
        


            Colder temperatures and higher rates led to adjusted net income
        of $172.5 million, or $3.28 per share, during the first half of
        1996.  This was a 90 percent increase over adjusted net income of
        $90.9 million, or $1.80 per share, during the same period in 1995.
        


            Reported net income for the current period was $159.5 million,
        or $3.04 per share, as compared with $159.7 million, or $3.16 per
        share, last year.  The current period's results were reduced by the
        net effect of the unusual items recorded in the second quarter.
        Reported income for 1995 benefitted from not recording $83.4 million
        in after-tax interest expense on prepetition debt obligations due to
        the Chapter 11 proceedings.
        


            The transmission segment's operating income during the current
        period was $124.4 million.  The increase of $11.9 million over 1995
        was due primarily to higher rates.  Partially offsetting the
        positive effect of the higher rates were the costs incurred in the
        second quarter to streamline operations and the effect of $5.3
        million in revenues from exit fees that Columbia Gulf Transmission
        recorded in the first quarter of 1995.
        


            The distribution segment's operating income of $165 million for
        the first half of 1996 represents an increase of $56.7 million over
        last year.  This reflects the effects of higher rates now in effect
        and increased throughput due to colder temperatures.  These
        improvements were tempered by the reengineering costs recorded in
        the second quarter.
        


            The oil and gas segment had operating income of $17.2 million in
        the current period because wellhead prices for Appalachian natural
        gas prices were 35 percent higher than last year. This compared to
        an operating loss of $300,000 last year.  The 1995 loss included
        results from Columbia's southwest oil and gas subsidiary, which has
        been sold. The average price for Appalachian natural gas production
        for the first half of 1996 was $2.98 per thousand cubic feet, an
        increase of 78 cents over 1995.
        


            Colder weather also benefited the other energy segment,
        resulting in increased natural gas marketing activities and higher
        propane margins and sales.  These improvements were tempered by the
        reengineering expenses recorded in the second quarter.  The net
        result was operating income of $13.6 million, which was $4 million
        higher than during the same period in 1995.
        


            The Columbia Gas System, Inc., is one of the nation's largest
        natural gas systems.  The publicly traded debt issues of Columbia
        carry investment grade ratings.  Its operating companies are engaged
        in all phases of the natural gas business, provide marketing and
        fuel management services and generate electric power, directly or
        indirectly, serving more than seven million gas users in 15 states
        and the District of Columbia.  Information about Columbia and its
        operating units is available on the World Wide Web at
        " target=_new>http://www.columbiaenergy.com">http://www.columbiaenergy.com
        



                         THE COLUMBIA GAS SYSTEM, INC.
                      Summary of Financial Operating Data
        
                                      Three Months      Six Months
                                     Ended June 30,   Ended June 30,
                                      1996     1995    1996     1995
        Income Statement Data
         ($ millions)
         Total Operating Revenue      582.4    454.6  1,785.4 1,485.3
        
         Net Income                     8.2     30.9    159.5   159.7
        
        Operating Income (Loss)
         By Segment:
          Transmission                 38.8     35.9    124.4   112.5
          Distribution                 (3.0)    (7.9)   165.0   108.3
          Oil and Gas                   6.4     (0.2)    17.2    (0.3)
          Other Energy                 (3.1)     1.7     13.6     9.6
          Corporation                  (3.1)    (2.6)    (6.0)   (3.3)
        
        Total                          36.0     26.9    314.2   226.8
        
        Per Share Data:
         Earnings on Common Stock     $0.15    $0.61   $3.04    $3.16
        
         Average Common Shares
          Outstanding (millions)       55.0     50.6     52.5    50.6
        
        Capitalization
        ($ millions)
                                                June 30,    December 31,
                                                  1996          1995
        Common Stock Equity:
         Common stock, par value $10 per
          share - outstanding 55,065,869 and
          49,204,025 shares, respectively          550.7          506.2
        
         Additional paid in capital                736.8          595.8
        
         Retained earnings                         213.7           69.8
        
         Unearned employee compensation             (1.5)         ---
        
         Less: Cost of treasury stock
          (1,416,155 shares outstanding
          as of December 31, 1995)                 ---            (57.8)
        
        Total Common Stock Equity                1,499.7        1,114.0
        
        Preferred Stock                          ---              399.9
        
        Long-Term Debt                           2,004.1        2,004.5
        
        Total Capitalization                     3,503.8        3,518.4
        

                      Summary of Financial Operating Data
        
                                               Three Months    Six Months
                                              Ended June 30, Ended June 30,
                                               1996    1995    1996   1995
        Operating Data:
         Oil and Gas Volumes:
          Gas Production (billion cubic feet)
           Appalachian                          8.1     8.1    16.6     17.2
           Southwest                          ---       8.1     ---     16.7
          Total                                 8.1    16.2    16.6     33.9
         Oil Production (000 barrels)
           Appalachian                           83       80    153     158
           Southwest                            ---      616    ---   1,280
          Total                                  83      696    153   1,438
        
        Transmission (billion cubic feet):
         Transportation:
          Columbia Transmission:
           Market Area                        197.6   194.7   627.1    595.9
          Columbia Gulf:
           Main-line                          159.1   151.8   329.3    306.7
           Short-haul                          64.0    53.7   133.3    104.4
         Intrasegment Eliminations           (158.1) (150.7) (324.6)  (302.0)
        Total Throughput                      262.6   249.5   765.1    705.0
        
        Distribution (billion cubic feet):
         Gas Sales                             44.2    37.5   197.1    170.6
         Transportation                        60.0    58.7   131.7    135.5
         Total Throughput                     104.2    96.2   328.8    306.1
        
        Degree Days-Distribution Service Territory:
         Actual                               705     624   3,807    3,382
         Normal                               580     580   3,559    3,527
         % Colder (warmer)
          than normal                          22       8       7       (4)
         % Colder (warmer)
          than prior period                    13       2      13      (10)
        
        Bankruptcy-related and Unusual Items
        After-tax effect on Net Income
        
        Reported Net Income                     8.2    30.9   159.5    159.7
         Less:
         Bankruptcy related items:
          Estimated interest costs
           not recorded on prepetition
           debt prior to emergence           ---       43.0  ---        83.4
          Professional fees and
           related expenses                   ---      (7.8)   ---     (14.6)
          Restructure costs                   (18.6) ---      (18.6)  ---
          Adjustment to Southwest
           oil and gas operations               5.6   ---       5.6    ---
          Total adjustments                   (13.0)   35.2   (13.0)    68.8
        Net Income after adjusting
         for bankruptcy and
         unusual items                         21.2    (4.3)  172.5     90.9

        
CONTACT:  Media, Bill Chaddock, 302-429-5261, or Bill McLaughlin,
        302-429-5443, or Analysts, Tom Hughes, 302-429-5363, or Ken Murphy,
        302-429-5471, all of Columbia Gas



Advanced Promotion Technologies Inc. reports second quarter results
        


POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- July 12, 1996--Advanced
        Promotion Technologies Inc., (OTC BB:APTZ), developer and marketer
        for the Vision Value Network(tm), and electronic marketing and
        financial services network for supermarkets, Friday announced
        financial results for the second quarter ended May 25, 1996.  
        


            Revenues for the six months ended May 25, 1996, were $1,894,000
        as compared to $2,297,000 in the six months ended May 27, 1995.
        Promotion revenues increased in 1996 by approximately $286,000 due
        to greater participation in The Vision Value Club by consumers,
        offset by a decrease in revenue from manufacturers of $486,000, and
        a decrease in installation revenues of $203,000.  
        


            Net loss for the six months ended May 25, 1996, was $7,134,000,
        or $0.39 per share, as compared to $18,544,000, or $1.35 per share,
        in the six months ended May 27, 1995.  The 62% reduction in net
        losses is attributed to approximately $3.8 million extinguishment of
        the Consumer Redemption Liability, as a result of the de-
        installation of 79 stores, due the termination of the Kroger and
        other retailer contracts, and the assumption of that liability by
        certain of those and other retailers.  Total costs and expenses for
        the six months ended May 25, 1996, were $11,412,000, down 30% from
        $16,369,000 for the six months ended May 27, 1995.  The decrease is
        due to lowered direct operating and selling, general and
        administrative expenses, as a result of the effort to restructure
        the company and operate on a smaller scale.  Also the six months
        ended May 27, 1995, included a one-time debt conversion expense of
        $3.5 million.  
        


            Advanced Promotion Technologies markets the Vision Value
        Network(tm), an electronic marketing and financial services network
        for supermarkets.  Installed in each checkout lane, Vision Value
        terminals combine print, video and voice media to communicate
        targeted product promotions, advertising and financial services to
        consumers.


        
                    ADVANCED PROMOTION TECHNOLOGIES INC.
                              BALANCE SHEETS

                                UNAUDITED
                     (In thousands, except share data)
        
                                     November 25,     May 25,
                                        1995           1996
        
        ASSETS
        
        CASH                              $ 5,600          $   387
        OTHER                               1,988            1,293
        PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT             24,625           20,762
          
                                      $32,213          $22,442
        
        LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS'
          DEFICIENCY
        
        CURRENT LIABILITIES               $17,471          $14,746
        6% SUBORDINATED DEBENTURES,       
          LONG-TERM DEBT AND CAPITAL
          LEASE OBLIGATIONS                14,846           14,809
        STOCKHOLDERS' DEFICIENCY            (104)          (7,113)
        
                                      $32,213          $22,442
        

                          STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS
                                 UNAUDITED
                     (In thousands, except share data)
        
                            Three Months Ended        Six Months Ended
                            May 27,    May 25,        May 27,    May 25,
                             1995       1996           1995       1996
        
        REVENUES               $   1,422  $    986       $  2,297   $  1,894
        TOTAL COSTS AND
          EXPENSES                 8,258     5,409         16,369     11,412
        
        LOSS FROM OPERATIONS     (6,836)   (4,423)       (14,072)    (9,518)
        INTEREST EXPENSE (NET)       352       324            849        590
        DEBT CONVERSION            
          EXPENSE                  3,500        --          3,500         --
        EXTINGUISHMENT OF          
          CONSUMER REDEMPTION
          LIABILITY                   --    (1,062)            --    (3,763)
        
        NET LOSS               ($10,688)  ($3,685)      ($18,421)   ($6,345)
        PREFERRED STOCK             
          DIVIDEND
          REQUIREMENTS              (61)     (395)          (123)      (789)
        NET LOSS ATTRIBUTABLE  
          TO COMMON
          STOCKHOLDERS         ($10,749)  ($4,080)      ($18,544)   ($7,134)
        NET LOSS PER COMMON    
          SHARE                  ($0.73)   ($0.22)        ($1.35)    ($0.39)
        
        WEIGHTED AVERAGE      
          SHARES              14,641,091 18,441,095    13,775,396 18,441,095
        

CONTACT:  Advanced Promotion Technologies Inc., Pompano Beach
                  Jesse Grant, 954/969-3003