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BETHLEHEM SELLING FOUR UNPROFITABLE UNITS

Bethlehem Steel Corp. today said it will sell four unprofitable units and take a $375 million charge against fourth-quarter earnings for the restructuring plan. None of the units has operations in Western New York.

Bethlehem Steel, which also reported lower third-quarter earnings today, said the units being sold are BethShip, its ship repair business in Sparrows Point, Md.; Centec Roll Corp. and BethForge Inc., which make forged products for the metalworking industry; and Bethlehem Structural Products Corp., which makes steel beams for buildings. The last three units are based in Bethlehem, Pa.

The four units account for less than 10 percent of Bethlehem Steel's revenue and have 2,235 employees.

Bethlehem Steel said in July that it was considering selling the units to boost its profit. The second-largest U.S. steelmaker hired several financial advisers this month to help it find buyers.

The steelmaker said it will continue to operate the businesses while it seeks buyers. It said it hopes they will continue to operate under new ownership but, if a sale is not arranged within its timetable, they will be closed.

Bethlehem Steel, hurt by lower steel prices, said its third-quarter profit from operations fell to $23 million, or 12 cents a share, from net income of $34.4 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier.

A charge of $12 million, or 12 cents a share, in the latest quarter for the sale of a coal mine, made net income $11 million, or break-even on a per-share basis, after paying preferred dividends.

Revenue fell 4.1 percent to $1.17 billion from $1.22 billion.

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