write-off

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Tom Liguori, chief financial officer, said: "We have determined these write downs are necessary in order to bring asset values in line with current operational levels and the outlook for the industry.
In the Information and Media Services segment, most of the restructuring charge results from the construction unit's permanent write downs of certain e-commerce investments and approximately 300 staff reductions across the segment, including previously announced positions at BusinessWeek, the Broadcasting Group and the McGraw-Hill Construction Information Group.
The gross profit from 1998 to 1999 is not comparable due to the inventory write down and the decrease in revenue.
Third quarter results also include a write down of $2,600,000 for deferred policy acquisition expenses in the nonstandard automobile division and reserve increases of approximately $2,500,000 from 1998 and prior periods.
This increase is due in part to increased efficiencies, expanded business opportunities in the Russia/Kasakstan/Azerbaijan region, and pooled management resources, the costs of which are reflected in the one-time special charges, write-offs and write downs reported currently.
For the nine month period the Company recorded a loss of $9,178,406 as a result of extensive write downs in the second quarter compared to a profit of $906,321 for the first three quarters of fiscal 1997.