Thursday, March 20, 2003

Tristate summary



Goodyear seeks to sell chem unit

Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said Wednesday that it is looking for a buyer of its chemical products business to raise cash and enable it to focus on tires.

The Goodyear Chemical unit specializes in synthetic polymers and resins. Its annual sales are about $750 million.

Shares of Goodyear, the world's largest tire company, rose 16 cents, or 3.8 percent, to close Wednesday at $4.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Goodyear CEO Robert J. Keegan said the chemical unit "is delivering a strong performance during the current economic downturn."

Joseph Copeland, president of Goodyear Chemical, said the company's decision to sell the business would not interfere with daily operations.

Wiring company closes plant

An Ohio company that makes electrical-wiring systems for automotive products plans to shut down in Mebane, N.C., putting 164 employees out of work.

Alphabet, based in Warren, Ohio, said it would start cutting jobs in June and finish in October.

The company, a division of Stoneridge Inc., has been operating in Mebane for more than 25 years, said Michael Jocola, Alphabet's manager of human resources.

Alphabet has other plants in Ohio, Indiana and Mexico, though Strohm declined to comment on which plants will handle the Mebane operations.

Yum may assume $153M liabilities

Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc., owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut fast-food chains, might have to assume $153 million in liabilities because of new accounting rules meant to stop companies from keeping debt off their books.

The liabilities cover loans it guaranteed for restaurant franchisees and amount to less than 3 percent of the company's assets of $5.4 billion, said Tim Jerzyk, a spokesman for Yum Brands. The company might reorganize the loans to avoid the liabilities. The Financial Accounting Standards Board's rules take effect in June.

Wire reports



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