Rotorex to lay off 51 workers at its Walkersville...

Business Digest

June 23, 1999

Rotorex to lay off 51 workers at its Walkersville plant

Fifty-one of the 107 employees at the Rotorex Corp. plant in Walkersville will be laid off July 23, and it is unclear if or when they might be rehired.

Federal law requires companies to notify the state government when more than 50 workers are laid off, so the state can help with unemployment benefits. The company also has notified Frederick and Walkersville governments.

Rotorex, which once employed 440 people, has employed 107 people since August, when management and labor ended a yearlong lockout. The agreement guaranteed severance packages for those laid off six months or more, but contained no provision requiring Rotorex to retain the 107 jobs.

I. C. Isaacs president, Lear, hands in resignation

Baltimore-based sportswear maker I. C. Isaacs & Co. Inc., which reported a first-quarter loss of $2.9 million, announced yesterday that Gerald W. Lear has resigned as president of the company.

Robert J. Arnot, chairman and chief executive officer, will take over Lear's duties effective June 30.

"We thank Jerry for the extensive efforts and commitment he exhibited during his 37 years with our company," Arnot said in a statement. "We all wish him well in future endeavors."

Kohl's plans Aug. opening of store in Frederick

Kohl's Department Stores said yesterday that it will open a store in Frederick on Aug. 15.

The 86,584-square-foot store, under construction in Frederick Crossing Retail Center on Guilford Drive, will employ 130 full-time and part-time workers, the Wisconsin-based company said.

The retailer, with 231 stores in 23 states, including seven in Maryland, operates value-oriented, specialty department stores selling moderately priced national brand apparel, shoes, accessories and home products. Another Kohl's will open next spring in the former Caldor space in Severna Park Mall.

Chevron to cut 2,500 positions by early next year

Chevron Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, said yesterday that it will cut 2,500 jobs by early next year -- 1,500 more than it announced in December when it began a $500 million cost-reduction plan.

Chevron said it will take a $150 million charge against second-quarter earnings for part of the expense of eliminating the jobs, which represent 7.4 percent of its work force of about 34,000.

The expanded job cuts reflect the pressure Chevron is under after talks to buy Texaco Inc., the No. 3 U.S. oil company, collapsed June 2. Acquisitions such as Exxon Corp.'s $85 billion buyout of Mobil Corp. could leave Chevron facing bigger rivals with lower costs for finding and refining oil.

DuPont gains EU approval to buy seed-corn company

DuPont Co. has won European Union approval for its $7.7 billion acquisition of the 80 percent of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. it does not already own, a move that will boost its agriculture business.

The European Commission, EU's executive agency, said the purchase of the world's largest seed-corn company won't threaten fair competition in European markets for agricultural products.

The acquisition is part of DuPont's year-old plan to expand its life sciences businesses, which include agricultural biotechnology. Control of Pioneer positions DuPont to catch up with Monsanto Co., whose Roundup herbicide and seed technologies have been gaining market share at DuPont's expense.

Ford to invest $300 million in auto plant in Russia

Ford Motor Co. is planning to invest $300 million in a car-manufacturing plant in Russia that is slated to start production in two years, officials said yesterday.

The plant, which will have a production capacity of 50,000 cars a year, will be built on a site now used by a Russian engine maker in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg.

Russian Deputy Economics Minister Sergei Mitin said Ford also would help Russia set up a high-tech assembly line for making car parts to be sold separately.

AIDS biotech company cuts work force by about a third

A biotech company founded by the late Jonas Salk to find a cure for AIDS trimmed its work force by nearly a third, cut salaries and shifted some of its pharmaceutical work to a larger partner company.

Immune Response Corp., based in Carlsbad, Calif., announced the cost-cutting moves late Monday, just a month after calling off a study of its Remune AIDS drug involving 2,500 patients. Company executives then said it was difficult to find investors for new clinical trials.

The company cut 43 employees, including a vice president, and remaining executives will take pay cuts, a spokesman said.

CVS Corp., health insurer reach an agreement

CVS Corp., the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain, says it has reached an agreement with insurer United HealthCare Corp. to provide mail-order and other pharmacy services to users of complex and costly drug therapies.

The agreement is part of CVS' plan to expand ProCare, its specialty-pharmacy business, which serves people living with HIV, AIDS and cancer, or who need injections for conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

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