N.J. firm guilty in junk bond schemeThe Cooper Cos., which...

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 14, 1994

N.J. firm guilty in junk bond scheme

The Cooper Cos., which makes contact lenses and eye-care products, and a former chairman were found guilty yesterday of federal charges that they were involved in a scheme to profit from insider tips on junk bond trades.

Federal prosecutors said Fort Lee, N.J.-based Cooper, which owns CooperVision, CooperSurgical Inc. and Hospital Group of America, and Gary Singer, the former co-chairman, made about $3 million in the scheme.

The jury found Singer guilty of 21 counts that included racketeering conspiracy and participating in a racketeering enterprise.

UAW threatens nationwide strike

The United Auto Workers union said it plans to cripple production at General Motors Corp. assembly plants across the country if the automaker doesn't settle the 3-day-old strike at its Louisiana truck plant by next week.

Determined to avoid a long walkout in Shreveport that could hurt morale throughout the union, the UAW is threatening a second strike at a Flint, Mich., stamping plant.

Four weeks into a 1991 strike at the GM assembly plant in Southeast Baltimore, rank-and-file support dropped sharply, and the union was forced to accept a settlement that brought only 32 jobs to a payroll of 3,200. The UAW hopes to avoid a similar result in Shreveport by threatening additional job actions.

Ryland alters Calif. strategy

Ryland Group Inc., the Columbia homebuilder, said yesterday it will change its focus in California by building homes targeted at entry-level and first-time move-up homebuyers.

The announcement that the company will build less-expensive homes in California follows Ryland's decision in October to take a $40 million charge in anticipation of pricing concessions in Southern California.

As part of the change in strategy, Ryland has appointed Frank Scardina, who joined the company last year as a vice president, president of Ryland's newly formed California Region. The new division was previously part of Ryland's West Region operations.

Unemployment claims decline

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits declined by 1,000 last week to the lowest level since Christmas, the government said yesterday.

Scotland loses last golf-ball maker

Scotland, where the game of golf began, has lost its only golf-ball manufacturer, driven out by U.S. competitors. St. Andrews Golf Ball Co., based in Dumfries, southwest Scotland, had aimed to win 1 percent of the British market for quality balls. Volume was rising, but prices had been depressed by surplus balls flooding in from the United States, the company said.

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