Woolard to step down as CEO of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Woolard to step down as CEO of DuPont, will remain chairman

DuPont Co., the giant chemicals and fibers maker, said yesterday that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Woolard will retire as CEO Dec. 31.

Mr. Woolard, 61, will be succeeded as CEO by Vice Chairman John Krol, 58, who also will become president of the company Oct. 1. Mr. Woolard will stay on as chairman of the board.

DuPont's stock closed down $1, to $66.875, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Patapsco Federal S&L; to convert to a bank

Patapsco Federal Savings and Loan Association said yesterday that it plans to convert to a publicly held commercial bank from a mutually owned thrift.

Joseph J. Bouffard, president of the Dundalk-based thrift with $476.4 million in assets, said that by converting to a bank Patapsco will be able to compete more effectively with new products and services. The company also will raise funds in a public offering, but it has neither set a commencement date nor priced the shares.

The thrift expects to file its conversion application with regulators in the fourth quarter, and anticipates approval early next year.

Cumberland company, Biederlack, to expand

Biederlack Co., a Cumberland blanket maker, is working on an expansion plan that could mean 50 more jobs for Allegany County residents.

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes has announced a $550,000 federal grant for Allegany County to improve the former Kelly-Springfield tire plant so Biederlack could expand. The company hopes to open a spinning and dye mill that would require a $3.4 million investment, said a statement from the Maryland Democrat's office.

Biederlack President Richard Alford said he is negotiating with Allegany County to buy three buildings at the former tire plant, now known as the Riverside Industrial Park.

MBNA certificates given 'AAA' rating

MBNA Master Credit Card Trust II's $435 million Class A floating-rate, asset-backed certificates series 1995-G have been rated 'AAA' by Fitch. The corresponding $22.5 million Class B certificates are rated 'AA-.'

The certificates are backed by a pool of credit card receivables generated under MBNA America Bank, N.A. MasterCard and Visa account holders in the U.S.

The ratings are based on the high quality of the receivables pool, available credit enhancement, MBNA's excellent servicing capabilities, and sound legal and cash flow structures, Fitch said.

Revenue falls at Diehl, maker of CAD software

Columbia-based Diehl Graph- soft Inc., a leading developer of 2D/3D computer-aided design software, yesterday reported a decline in revenues in unaudited results for the first quarter ended Aug. 31.

Net revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 1996 declined to $862,688 from $1,262,288 in the first quarter of fiscal 1995. Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 1996 declined to $121,381, or $.04 per share, from $365,449, or $.16 per share, in the period last year.

Management attributed the decline in net revenues primarily to lower software sales prior to a pending major upgrade of its flagship Macintosh software product, MiniCad.

Caldor chairman asks vendors to resume shipping merchandise

Caldor Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald Clarke yesterday asked the discount retailer's vendors to resume shipping merchandise to Caldor.

Speaking at a meeting with creditors required as part of the bankruptcy reorganization process, Mr. Clarke apologized to vendors for certain Caldor checks that bounced in the final days before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company's banks "withdrew their support and stopped paying on those checks which had been previously issued," he said. Norwalk, Conn.-based Caldor will do its best to make good on the checks within the constraints of Chapter 11, he said.

Creditors also elected a committee to represent them during the bankruptcy. The panel will include VF Corp., Sharp Electronics Corp., Rubbermaid Inc., Springs Industries Inc., Thomson Consumer Electronics, Mattel Inc., the United Food and Commercial Workers union, Jeffrey M. Brown Inc., American Credit Indemnity Co., Hallmark Cards Inc. and Twin County Grocers.

Women hold directorships at 81% of large companies

In a significant advance, 81 percent of the nation's largest companies now have at least one woman on their corporate boards, according to a survey released yesterday.

Year-ago data from Catalyst, a nonprofit consulting and research group, said 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies had a woman director. In 1993, that number was 69 percent.

According to the 1995 research, one-third, or 166, of the nation's top 500 companies have more than one female board member -- an 18 percent increase from 141 last year. About 9.5 percent of the 6,274 corporate board seats are occupied by women, up from 8.7 percent last year and 8.3 percent in 1993.

Wal-Mart plans to lay off about 800 employees

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, will cut about 1 percent of employees at its headquarters to save money.

Jay Allen, vice president of corporate affairs, said 80 to 100 people should be laid off by next week. About 8,000 people work at the Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. He said the company decided to discuss the layoffs because of rumors that thousands of employees would be fired.

In addition, Mr. Allen said a "small" number of hourly and management workers will be cut from stores, but he didn't specify further.

GM in China to stay, Smith says; venture sought

General Motors President John Smith said yesterday that the top U.S. carmaker was in China to stay regardless of how a bidding war with rival Ford to form a partnership with Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. turns out.

GM and Ford are campaigning to form a joint production venture with Shanghai to build midsize cars for a fledgling China market that Mr. Smith said would double in size by the turn of the century.

Disney expects sales to soar in Persian Gulf

The Walt Disney Company expects sales of its products in the Persian Gulf, where half the 23 million population is under 15, to grow tenfold to $500 million annually within the next 10 years, but piracy remains a problem, officials say.

Pierre Sissmann, president of Disney Consumer Products Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Disney sales there currently are $40 million to $50 million annually.

U.S. orders stronger locks on vehicles with back doors

The U.S. government yesterday ordered stronger locks and hinges for the back doors of hatchbacks, vans, station wagons and sport utility vehicles. Regulators said there have been at least 40 deaths from passengers falling out rear doors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the new regulation would require rear doors meet the same standard that now applies to side doors and should prevent about 13 deaths each year. The new standard is effective Sept. 1, 1997. New latches would cost about $3 per vehicle.

Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and other manufacturers have resisted efforts by the Institute for Insurance Safety and others to improve the locks on the popular minivans and sport utility vehicles, saying stronger latches are unnecessary.

Raytheon board approves 2-for-1 stock split

Lexington, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. said its board has bTC approved a 2-for-1 stock split, payable Oct. 23 to holders of record Oct. 9.

The split will bring the number of shares to about 246 million, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Allen. The company has traditionally split its stock when the price topped $80 a share, she said.

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