Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Business digest

Waste Management to reduce work force

From wire reports

HOUSTON - Waste Management Inc. said Monday it will reduce its work force by 600 and eliminate 200 contract positions as part of a plan to reduce its markets and streamline costs.

"The decision to reduce our work force is always very hard; however, it is our responsibility to shareholders to enhance our competitiveness," said A. Maurice Myers, chairman and chief executive of the nation's biggest trash hauler. "The operational improvements our company continues to make allow us to streamline our business and enhance our competitiveness in the face of a sluggish economy.

Judge grants Enron's request for extension

NEW YORK - A federal judge Monday gave bankrupt Enron Corp. until July 11 to file its reorganization plan, granting the former energy trader's request for an 11-day extension.

The plan had been due Monday. But last week Enron asked for more time, saying it had reached a tentative agreement with creditors on the plan but still needed to work out details.

The plan will spell out how Enron will partly pay back the creditors to whom it owes tens of billions of dollars. Besides splitting proceeds from asset sales, Enron creditors will likely receive stock in the companies created from Enron's remaining assets in the pipelines, utility and international power sectors.

Top-Flite Golf Co. filing for bankruptcy

CHICOPEE, Mass. - The Top-Flite Golf Co. is filing for bankruptcy and selling its assets to Callaway Golf Co. for about $125 million, Top-Flite said Monday.

Top-Flite officials said the company's large debt and competition in the golf ball market have hurt sales. Callaway is buying Top-Flite free of any debt, officials said. The sale is subject to bankruptcy court and regulatory approval.

Interest rates up on Treasury securities

WASHINGTON - Interest rates increased on short-term Treasury securities Monday.

The Treasury Department sold $17 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.885 percent, up from 0.815 percent last week. An additional $18 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 0.95 percent, up from 0.84 percent last week.

The three-month rate was the highest since June 9, when the rate was 1.005 percent. The six-month rate also was the highest since June 9, when the bills sold for 0.98 percent.

Volkswagen to lay off employees in Mexico

PUEBLA, Mexico - German automaker Volkswagen AG will lay off 2,000 employees at its subsidiary here because of declining sales, the company announced on Monday.

The company said that as of August, daily production would be cut by 23 percent due to sluggish sales of the Jetta and New Beetle models in foreign markets, mainly the United States.

Volkswagen also recently announced that it was ending production of the Sedan - the old Beetle - at the Mexican plant, the only place where it has been produced since 1978.

Harris Corp. names CEO Lance chairman

Harris Corp., which makes microwave, satellite and wireless-transmission equipment, named president and chief executive Howard Lance chairman. He succeeded Phillip Farmer, who retired.

Farmer, 64, had been chairman since 1995, the Melbourne, Florida-based company said in a statement. The 47-year-old Lance, a former NCR Corp. executive, replaced Farmer as chief executive and president Feb. 1.

Lance's promotion comes about two months after the company said it was cutting 230 jobs and eliminating product lines to save money

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Business digest