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GM may have to reimburse retireesGeneral Motors...


GM may have to reimburse retirees

General Motors Corp. had no right to increase health care costs to about 50,000 early retirees who had been promised the benefits for free, a U.S. district judge in Detroit ruled yesterday.

The ruling could force GM to stop charging the retirees for any portion of their medical care, and to reimburse them for tens of millions of dollars in bills they've paid since 1988.

The ruling affects 50,000 workers who took early retirements between 1974 and 1988.

Southwest Airlines reports gains

Southwest Airlines Co. reported that net income rose 43 percent in the fourth quarter and 54 percent for the year, while most of its large competitors continued to post losses.

For the quarter, Southwest reported net income of $38.4 million, or 26 cents a share. For the year, net income was $169.5 million, or $1.15 a share.

Southwest's stock rose 12.5 cents, to $37.50, on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

Armco has losses for quarter, year

Armco Inc., the owner of the Eastern Stainless Corp. stainless steel mill in Baltimore County, yesterday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $98 million, or 99 cents a share, compared with a loss of $376.7 million, or $3.68 a share, for the same period a year ago. For the year, the Pittsburgh-based company had a loss of $641.8 million, or $6.36 a share, compared with a loss of $429.9 million, or $4.45 a share, for 1992.

Excluding restructuring costs and accounting changes, the company said, the fourth-quarter operating loss would have been $10.2 million.

Bankers study failing Euro Disney

Euro Disney reported more losses yesterday as its bankers met in Paris to study an independent report on the troubled theme park's finances.

The company, which is depending on its parent Walt Disney Co. to stave off bankruptcy, said it lost $93.97 million for the three months that ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $71.88 million in the year-ago period.

About 60 bankers gathered for a report on Euro Disney by auditors KPMG Peat Marwick. Euro Disney SCA owes its banks $3.57 billion. Walt Disney, which owns 49 percent of Euro Disney, has said it will lend its financial support to Euro Disney until March 31.

Court says Volkswagen hired fairly

A Frankfurt, Germany, court yesterday handed German car giant Volkswagen AG a legal victory in its feud with General Motors Corp., rejecting a GM claim that Volkswagen had unfairly hired away seven of its executives.

But GM's Opel unit said it did not see the decision as a major setback in its battle with VW over controversial production chief Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, who moved suddenly to VW from GM last March. Opel had claimed that VW won an unfair competitive advantage by hiring the GM managers after Mr. Lopez left GM to join VW.

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