Japan to accept foreign bidsUnder pressure from...


Japan to accept foreign bids

Under pressure from Washington, the Japanese government yesterday approved a plan to open bidding on its lucrative public works programs to foreign companies.

It was not clear whether the changes would fully satisfy U.S. demands for greater access to Japan's construction market.

The plan, which takes effect April 1, calls for competitive bidding on major public works projects by the central government that are worth at least $7.69 million, which would include about 20 percent of Japan's public works projects.

Westinghouse hires executive

Westinghouse Electric Corp., looking to rejuvenate its slumping businesses, yesterday named Richard Hadala of McKinsey & Co. as the company's vice president of strategic planning.

Mr. Hadala, 36, spent 10 years at McKinsey, the prestigious New York-based management consulting firm. Westinghouse Chairman and CEO Michael Jordan was a consultant and principal at McKinsey from 1964 to 1974.

Eli Lilly to restructure

Eli Lilly & Co. said yesterday that it plans an extensive restructuring and will sell some of its medical devices and diagnostics businesses as it seeks to focus on its pharmaceutical operations.

The Indianapolis-based company said it would take a $1.2 billion pretax charge against fourth-quarter earnings for the restructuring.

Lilly's stock closed up $1.625, at $61.50.

Northwest plans stock offering

Northwest Airlines will sell 25 percent of its common stock to the public, in the airline's first offering since investors took the company private five years ago.

Northwest, which has lost more than $1 billion in the 1990s and narrowly avoided filing for bankruptcy protection last year, plans to use the $400 million expected to be raised to pay debts the owners incurred when they bought the airline in 1989.

Viacom sweetens Paramount bid

Cable television operator Viacom Inc. increased its bid for Paramount Communications Inc. to $10.5 billion yesterday.

The sweetened offer could put more pressure on rival QVC Network Inc. to up the ante, even though several Wall Street analysts said QVC's bid is still worth more than Viacom's.

Rohr aircraft plant begins layoffs

Layoffs have begun at the Rohr Inc. aircraft parts plant in Hagerstown, but employees remain hopeful that a prospective buyer can secure financing needed to keep the factory open.

Rohr announced in March its plans to close the plant early this year.

In November, Florida businessman Jorge Morales signed a letter of intent to buy the plant, but he is still seeking financing.

Seventy-five workers were laid off Friday.

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