Take day off, Mazda tells workersMazda Motor...


Take day off, Mazda tells workers

Mazda Motor Corp. forced almost all of its 25,000 employees to take an extra day off yesterday, becoming the first Japanese automaker to suspend all operations to cut production.

The move is aimed at stemming losses inflicted by the recession and the steep rise of the yen, which has boosted the cost of Japanese exports and cut demand abroad. Japan's auto industry has been suffering its worst slump in decades. Mazda has asked employees to take another day off next Monday. In both cases, their pay will be reduced 10 percent.

Viacom extends Paramount offer

Viacom Inc. extended its friendly cash offer for Paramount Communications Inc. by two days yesterday after a Delaware judge said he needed more time to rule on a challenge brought by hostile bidder QVC Network Inc.

Analysts said the delay didn't signify anything about the likelihood of success by either Paramount's preferred partner, Viacom, or its unwelcome suitor, one-time Paramount movie studio boss Barry Diller's QVC. QVC's bid of cash and stock is currently valued at about $10.6 billion compared with Viacom's offer of $9.3 billion.

Clinton seeks to aid U.S. companies

The Clinton administration unveiled a comprehensive plan yesterday to help U.S. companies carve out a bigger share of the potentially huge global market for environmental technologies.

Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, noting Germany and Japan already do far more to help their industries compete overseas, said the strategy represented a "sea change" in how Washington viewed its relationship with business.

Baltimore to invest in start-up firm

Baltimore will invest $200,000 in preferred stock of Cardiologic Systems Inc., a South Baltimore start-up company that is attempting to commercialize a cardiopulmonary resuscitation device that allows a mechanical vest to perform CPR.

Cardiologic Systems Inc. has raised about $5.5 million in private venture capital for the device, which is based on technology developed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said Ellen Wiggins, director of the city's Enterprise Development Fund, a unit of the quasi-public Baltimore Development Corp.

Atlantic Beverage selling shares

Atlantic Beverage Co. Inc. said yesterday that it commenced an initial public offering on Nov. 19 of 1.1 million shares of its common stock at $6.50 per share. Based in Baltimore, Atlantic Beverage is a wholesale distributor of specialty nonalcoholic beverages in the Baltimore-Washington area.

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