Scott Paper increases layoffsScott Paper Co. said...

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 04, 1994

Scott Paper increases layoffs

Scott Paper Co. said yesterday that it was sharply expanding its restructuring and earmarking another 2,200 workers for layoffs, setting a target of 10,500 cuts this year -- fully one-third of its work force, including 70 percent of its corporate headquarters staff in Philadelphia.

Analysts said newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Al Dunlap was making good on a promise to revamp the company by slashing staff, reducing capacity and selling off a glossy printing unit worth up to $2 billion. The company will also sharply curtail the number of its consumer products, from 400 to 100.

Scott Paper, the world's biggest tissue company, said the plan would save $400 million annually once completed. Its shares rose $1, to $61, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Merger talk boosts Conrail stock

Shares of railway freight system Conrail Inc. jumped yesterday on speculation that it might merge with Norfolk Southern Corp.

Conrail's stock rose $2.25, to close at $56.50, after Wall Street analysts said Norfolk Southern would likely pay about $64 a share, or $5.7 billion, were it to bid for Conrail.

Both Norfolk and Conrail declined comment on a Journal of Commerce report that they were negotiating a merger. The three corners of a combined system would be in the Southeast, Chicago and New York, and a merger would open single-line service to additional markets in high-traffic regions.

Chevron paying IRS $550 million

Chevron Corp. all but cleared its books of nine years of tax disputes by reaching a $550 million settlement yesterday with the Internal Revenue Service.

The agreement adds roughly 10 percent to the company's federal tax payments between 1979 and 1987, with the bulk of the $550 million representing net interest on the tax adjustments.

Chevron, which had set aside reserves exceeding the settlement total, said it expected a "fairly significant benefit" to third-quarter earnings.

Visa to buy electronic-banking unit

Visa International said yesterday that it would buy the electronic-banking and bill-paying operation of U.S. Order Corp., that Visa's member banks could offer services by personal computer and telephone.

U.S. Order, based in Herndon, Va., sells telephones with small computer screens and keyboards that customers can use for shopping and information retrieval, as well as banking.

Visa will pay $15 million and make an additional payment based on the number of customers who buy the service over the next six years. This could total $60 million to $200 million, said Coleman Andrews, CEO of Worldcorp, an air-freight concern with a majority interest in U.S. Order.

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