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Japan plans market-access billsfTCJapan, hoping to avert...


Japan plans market-access bills


Japan, hoping to avert a trade war with the United States, said yesterday that it would draft a package of market-opening measures by the end of next month. Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and his ministers agreed at a special Cabinet meeting yesterday to work out a plan, which they hope to present to a skeptical United States by the end of March.

The strategy is likely to include deregulation, import and investment promotion and improvement of government procurement procedures.

Japan also said yesterday that it plans to station a government inspector in Detroit, to speed up U.S. auto exports to Japan.

Titan pact to General Dynamics

General Dynamics Corp.'s Space Systems division received a $193.6 million Air Force contract for work on the Atlas II launch vehicle, the Pentagon said yesterday. The San Diego-based operation will, by December 1997, develop new methods for improving the rocket's reliability.

Last December, Martin Marietta Corp. agreed to buy General Dynamics' Space Systems operation for $208.5 million in cash. Recently, Martin Marietta said it wants some of the $400 million over 10 years the Pentagon is expected to save through the combination of the Atlas and Martin Marietta's Titan rocket programs.

Woolworth posts $46 million loss

Woolworth Corp., in an unusual preliminary estimate of its quarterly results, said yesterday that it would post a loss of $46 million, compared with a profit of $165 million for the comparable quarter a year earlier.

The company also announced that it would take a larger charge than originally estimated in the sale of a Canadian unit. Shares of Woolworth fell 37.5 cents, to $22.50, in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Prime Retail changes underwriters

Prime Retail Inc., a Baltimore manager and developer of factory outlet centers, has abandoned Goldman, Sachs & Co., underwriter of its planned $279 million initial public offering, and altered the structure of the stock sale. Prime Retail said Washington-based Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc. will handle the stock sale alone.

The new plan calls for Prime Retail to sell 2.2 million shares of senior preferred stock at $25 a share, 7.81 million shares of convertible preferred stock at $25 a share and 1.38 million shares of common stock at $21 each.

Walt Disney World to lay off 360

Walt Disney World plans to lay off 360 of 36,000 employees at its Florida entertainment resort in the near future, a company spokeswoman said yesterday. Attendance at Disney theme parks has been soft in recent months, hurt by bad weather in the Northeast, a winter tourism lull and unstable economic conditions.


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