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Bell Atlantic makes new offer to union,...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bell Atlantic makes new offer to union, offering 10.2% raise

Bell Atlantic Corp. said it made a fourth contract offer to union workers represented by the Communications Workers of America that calls for a 10.2 percent wage increase over three years.

Negotiations between the union and Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic have been at an impasse for weeks. The union wants job security for its 37,000 members who work at Bell Atlantic and access to jobs created by Bell Atlantic's diversification into new markets such as cable television.

The latest wage offer is lower than what CWA members at other Baby Bells received. SBC Communications Inc. gave its union workers an 11 percent wage increase. Ameritech Corp.'s union workers got a 10.9 percent increase.

The union said the proposed wage increase still falls short.

"In the area of wages, they are still short of where the other regional Bell operating companies have settled," said Doug Thompson, spokesman at CWA.

Union members at Bell Atlantic have been working without a contract since Aug. 5.

Super Rite reports earnings rise in quarter

Super Rite Corp. said yesterday its second-quarter earnings rose sharply as both its wholesale and retail segments fared better and interest expense fell.

The full-service grocery wholesaler and retailer, which supplies 238 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, said its profits rose 24.9 percent to $3.6 million in the quarter ended Sept. 2, from $2.9 million in the same period a year ago. Revenues climbed 9.9 percent to $374.4 million from $340.7 million.

Same-store sales by the Harrisburg, Pa.-based company's Metro superstores rose 3 percent in the year-to-date period. Super Rite's retail grocery division operates 10 Metro superstores in the Baltimore market and Dover, Del., as well as five Basics supermarkets in metropolitan Baltimore.

Crestar to offer home banking services

Crestar Bank has announced plans to expand its menu of technology-based services with the launch of home banking services via personal computer.

The services will be offered to Crestar customers in the coming weeks under agreements with Microsoft Corp. and Intuit, makers of the two most popular brands of personal finance software.

Lockheed Martin wins contract to make night-vision systems

Lockheed Martin Corp. said it won a contract from the U.S. Army with a potential value of more than $98 million to build 30 night-vision systems for the Royal Netherlands Army Apache helicopter.

The Army, under its foreign military sales program, authorized an initial $49.4 million and will negotiate the rest with Lockheed Martin, the company said.

Lockheed Martin will make the systems at its electronics and missiles plants in Orlando and Ocala, Fla. About 580 employees work on the program in Orlando and another 30 in Ocala. Deliveries will begin in July 1997.

Pillsbury to sell Primo brand to Nabisco

British food and drink giant Grand Metropolitan Plc said yesterday its U.S.-based Pillsbury unit will sell its Primo-branded pasta and Italian food businesses in Canada to Nabisco Ltd. Financial terms of the sale to the RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. unit were not disclosed.

The Primo brands, produced by Pillsbury unit Primo Foods Ltd., have annual sales of about $90 million, GrandMet said. The parent company sought a buyer for Primo Foods after Pillsbury acquired Pet Inc. in February.

Minneapolis-based Pillsbury, which produces grocery items, frozen foods and refrigerated dough products for international consumer markets, will retain its Old El Paso Mexican food products and the Underwood meat spreads businesses.

Lionel Trains is sold to group of investors

Lionel Trains Inc., the nation's largest manufacturer of toy trains, is being sold to a group of investors headed by rock star Neil Young and former Paramount Communications chairman Martin Davis.

Owner Richard Kughn said the sale should be completed Thursday. He would not reveal the price of the company, which has had annual sales in recent years of more than $50 million.

Mr. Kughn said there are no plans to move the Michigan company or lay off any employees.

All Staples stores to have FedEx sites

Federal Express Corp. said yesterday that, starting next month, FedEx customers will be able to drop off their packages in all of Staples Inc.'s 346 U.S. stores.

Each Staples store will feature self-contained FedEx "ShipSites" that store all packaging supplies, FedEx said. The companies said the arrangements help generate revenues for both businesses.

FedEx said it now has 7,000 ShipSites in retailers.

Litton to acquire Hughes aircraft unit

Litton Industries Inc., a maker of electronics defense systems, said yesterday it plans to acquire the aircraft maintenance business of Hughes Electronics Corp.'s Delco Systems. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

The unit, known as Inertial Systems, with operations in Goleta, Calif., and Milwaukee, is expected to generate $70 million in revenues this year, Litton said.

Exide to close some European plants

Exide, the battery making and lead recycling company, said yesterday it expects to close more than half of its battery plants in Europe over five years as it consolidates operations after a series of acquisitions.

Exide will also integrate operations of its three European battery companies. They are Euro Exide, formerly BIG Batteries, in Wales, Britain; Tudor in Spain and CEAC in France, which have combined annual sales of 24 million batteries in Europe. Lead acid batteries account for more than 60 percent of global lead consumption.

Widow settles case over pension with IBM

The widow who sued IBM after the company said her husband died four months shy of the minimum time required to receive full pension benefits has settled her case out of court.

"The terms of the settlement are confidential," IBM spokesman Tom Beermann said yesterday. He declined to discuss any aspect of the case.

Joan Addessi of Armonk, N.Y., sued International Business Machines Corp. over pension rights after her husband, Richard, 48, died of a heart attack in February 1994 just four months shy of his 30th anniversary with the company.

The company disqualified him for an $1,800 a month pension and free lifetime medical care, and said instead that she would receive $340 a month. Her medical benefits would have cost $473 a month.

China punishes 12 firms for pirating films, music

China's State Copyright Administration has punished 12 publishing houses and companies found pirating U.S. films and Hong Kong pop music, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

China launched a crackdown on rampant piracy after a landmark agreement with the United States last February that averted a trade war over Chinese theft of cassettes, videos, compact discs and software.

Among the companies nabbed in the latest raids were the Beijing Video and Audio Corp., the Shanghai Video and Audio Publishing House, Guangdong Provincial Phonograph Corp., the Nanjing Video and Audio Publishing House and the Shenzhen Video and Audio Corp., Xinhua said.

Motorola to expand operations in China

Motorola Inc. will spend $720 million to expand operations in China, including construction of a new computer-chip plant, a spokesman said yesterday.

The project will make Motorola one of the largest foreign investors in China.

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