ATLANTA- Merrill Lynch & Co. has closed down its three-person municipal institutional sales operation here, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

The spokeswoman said that two of the three municipal sales representatives that had been in Atlanta -- Frank C. Egan, a vice president, and Patty Thyer, a sales associate -- were laid off effective July 19. The third sales representative, Robert Boltax, a vice president, will continue with Merrill Lynch in the firm's middle markets group in Atlanta, she said,

The sales group covered an eight-state region made up of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia for about eight years. Clients covered by the group will now be serviced by other securities salespeople out of Merrill's Atlanta office and the firm's institutional municipal sales unit in New York City.

"Basically, the sales office in Atlanta has been consolidated into the New York office to make it more efficient," Merrill's spokeswoman said.

With the layoffs, Merrill will no longer have municipal specialists in Atlanta. In 1988, the firm moved its Southeast municipal trading and underwriting unit from Atlanta to Clearwater, Fla.

Egan had been with Merrill Lynch for 23 years and Thyer had been with the firm for six years. Boltax has been with Merrill for eight years.

-- Donald Yacoe

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