Trans World Airlines Inc. is likely to emerge from bankruptcy slightly later than expected this month.

"It's big paperwork," TWA spokesman Don Fleming said when asked the reason for the delay.

The airline had targeted Sept. 7 for its expected emergence, but later realized that legally formalizing and documenting the agreements with the various parties involved would take more time than expected, Fleming said.

TWA lawyers likened the process to a host of different housing closings, he said.

Emergence from bankruptcy now looks more likely for mid-September or the week of Sept. 20, Fleming said.

The hearing on TWA's plan was held Aug. 11 and a judge signed off on it the following day, Fleming said. The deadline for appealing the plan was Aug. 23, and no appeals were filed, he said.

Asked whether TWA would find friendly skies upon emerging from bankruptcy, Philip Baggaley, a director at Standard & Poor's Corp., said, "I would describe their position as precarious."

The reason for Baggaley's caution: TWA will not come out with a lot of cash and will be coming out during the weak airline season, particularly for North Atlantic routes, he said.

On the bright side for TWA, the airline has lowered its cost structure and will emerge at a time when the market for used aircraft is weak, he said. That weakness will afford TWA better aircraft leasing opportunities, Baggaley said.

In other airline news, AMR Corp. distributed the following "Jetwire" to its employees following a Dallas Morning News article. The article said that AMR was considering plans to restructure and sell all or part of its various business units.

"This story is pure speculation, not at all unlike the rampant speculation several years ago about the possible sale of Sabre," the Jetwire statement says. Sabre is the airline's computerized reservation system.

"It is true that senior management is constantly searching for ways to enhance shareholder value and that it has, and will continue, to study organizational options," the statement says.

If and when AMR's management and the board of directors decide to reorganize the company, employees will be among the first to know, the statement says.

"Unfounded speculations of this kind are a waste of everyone's time and, as a consequence, we will have no further comment," the statement says.

Ed Martelle, an AMR spokesman, said while the company was investigating all its options, that's nothing new.

"That's kind of a non-event," Martelle said. "This is a company that studies everything to death."

He acknowledged, however, that the company does anticipate layoffs. Fall marks the beginning of the budget process for American Airlines and other AMR subsidiaries, and senior management plans to cut costs aggressively, he said.

An American Airlines release on the planned layoffs cited "continuing unsatisfactory earnings and the need to reduce costs still further..."

In the release, Mary B. Jordan, vice president of personnel resources said. "We do not know how many management and support personnel will be laid off, although we do not think the number will be greater than the 665 laid off last year."

Asked about the restructuring speculation. Baggaley of Standard & Poor's said it appears AMR is considering a wide variety of options to improve its long-term return to shareholders. If the company were to separate its profitable non-airline businesses from the rest of the corporation, the result would be a "credit negative" for AMR.

AMR's senior debt is rated BB-plus, the highest U.S. airline rating aside from Southwest Airlines Co.

In other action, Chase Securities Inc. has named James J. Stathis to head its corporate debt syndicate.

As vice president and manager of the syndicate, Stathis will report to Robert Cohen, managing director of the fixed income securities division, a Chase release says.

"Jim's depth of industry knowledge and experience, coupled with his proven leadership capabilities, give him unmatched qualifications to lead CSI's corporate debt syndicate. We are confident that the division will flourish under his guidance," Cohen said in the release.

Most recently, Stathis served as vice president for corporate debt trading for Chase Securities. Before coming to Chase in 1990, Stathis was a vice president of fixed income sales at Dillon, Read & Co. Earlier, he worked at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.

Elsewhere, Comcast Corp. yesterday said it has offered $250 million of step-up convertible subordinated debentures due 2005. Called SIRENs, the debentures bear interest at 3 3/8% a year until Sept. 9, 1997, and 5 1/2% a year thereafter until they mature or are redeemed.

The SIRENs can be converted into Class A special common stock at the holder's option at any time at a $36.75 conversion price. The are redeemable, whole or in part, beginning on Sept. 9. 1997.

First Boston Corp. served as sole underwriter on the offering. Comcast also granted First Boston an over-allotment option entitling it to buy up to an additional $25 million of SIRENs.

Comcast, which develops, manages, and operates cable communications networks, will use the offering's proceeds as working capital and for general corporate purposes.

In secondary trading yesterday, high-yield bonds ended down 1/4 to 1/2 points. Spreads on high-grade issues ended unchanged.

New Issues

Northern Telecom Inc. issued a two-part offering totaling $400 million. The first tranche consisted of $200 million of 6% notes due 2003. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.509 to yield 6.066%, or 60 basis points over comparable Treasuries.

Part two consisted of $200 million of 6 7/8% debentures due 2023. The noncallable debentures were priced at 98.71 to yield 6.978%. or 75 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's Investors Service rates the offering A2. while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Goldman, Sachs & Co. was the lead manager.

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