Buyers see improvementExecutives who do the buying for...

BUSINESS DIGEST

December 09, 1992

Buyers see improvement

Executives who do the buying for American companies expect business to improve in 1993, but only modestly, and with a further decline in manufacturing employment, the executives said in a survey released yesterday.

Of 300 purchasing managers who responded to the semiannual survey, more than three-quarters predicted better business next year, the highest percentage of optimists since 86 percent forecast a brighter 1984 nine years ago. The improved hopes of the members of the National Association of Purchasing Management reflect recent reports that show an economic recovery taking hold.

A McVeggie burger?

McDonald's Corp., the fast-food giant that built a worldwide reputation on the hamburger, has begun testing an anomaly: a meatless burger.

Five of its outlets in the Netherlands have begun selling the vegetable burger, which consists of potato, peas, carrot, corn, onion and spices, and starting Jan. 4, all 84 McDonald's restaurants there will include it on their menu. McDonald's emphasized yesterday that there are no plans to introduce the product, which has taken two years of development, in the United States. But the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said that if the meatless burger catches on it could find its way to other countries.

Oil firm adds cash to Circle K plan

Commonwealth Oil Refining Co. Inc. yesterday revised its reorganization plan for Circle K Corp. to include $390 million in cash to creditors, most of it supplied by a Saudi prince. Under the amended plan to be filed later this week, one of three competing for the convenience store chain, the Saudi prince would acquire a minority interest in Commonwealth, of Irving, Texas.

Analysts predict IBM cuts

IBM will soon announce a charge against earnings of more than $1 billion to dispose of assets and cut its work force further, two Wall Street analysts predicted yesterday.

The analysts, John Jones of Salomon Bros. and Dan Mandresh of Merrill Lynch & Co., expect that the new charges could be well above $1 billion, perhaps as high as $3 billion, and that 20,000 to 30,000 jobs could be cut. An IBM spokesman, Rob Wilson, said the company would not respond to the analysts' comments.

Bethlehem forms subsidiary

Bethlehem Steel Corp. said yesterday it formed a subsidiary, Pennsylvania Steel Technologies Inc., for its operations in Steelton, Pa., and reached a new labor contract for the unit with the United Steelworkers of America. Bethlehem had been studying the possibilities since January.

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