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KODAK TO LAY OFF 200 MANAGERS

To halt a slide in profits and counter heightened competition from Japan's Fuji Photo Film, Eastman Kodak Co. said Thursday it will begin carving costs by eliminating at least 200 management jobs.

In a memo to 95,000 employees, Kodak said a unit-by-unit overhaul that Wall Street analysts say could bring thousands of layoffs will start at the top with a 20 percent reduction among some 1,000 senior and middle managers.

The memo, issued by chief executive George Fisher, also promised to cut at least 10 percent of jobs in general office and administrative areas, but spokesman Charlie Smith declined to quantify those layoffs.

Kodak said last week that its 1997 profits could be as much as 25 percent lower than a year ago. It promised to cut costs sharply, sell underperforming businesses and trim the work force.

Honda prices 1998s competitively

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. raised the average price of its new Accords by 0.5 percent, or $110, while cutting the price of V-6 models.

The price of the six-cylinder Accord LX was cut by $950, $21,550, for 1998. The price of the most popular Accord, the four-cylinder LX sedan, rose by $100, to $19,090.

Honda's pricing mirrors that of other automakers, who have raised 1998 prices modestly, if at all, in the face of some softening of demand and increased competition.

'Nothing Sacred' loses sponsors

NEW YORK (AP) -- A controversial television series about a self-doubting priest has lost two of its sponsors following complaints by a Catholic group, The New York Times reported today.

The complaints about ABC's "Nothing Sacred" come before an upcoming episode involving a priest with AIDS, the report said.

The Weight Watchers International branch of the H.J. Heinz Co. and American Isuzu Motors have pulled their ads from the show, about a handsome priest ambivalent about church doctrines concerning abortion, celibacy and other issues.

Helmsley hands over her company

NEW YORK (AP) -- Leona Helmsley has handed control of one of New York's biggest management companies, Helmsley-Spear Inc., to two business associates of her late husband, Harry Helmsley.

The move frees Mrs. Helmsley to sell off his $5 billion empire and ends an ugly three-year dispute. Helmsley died in January.

Irving Schneider, 78, and Alvin Schwartz, 85, will take over the company, which manages the Empire State Building, 1 Penn Plaza, 1001 Avenue of the Americas, and 83 other buildings, which generate about $25 million a year in revenue.

ADM exec files for bankruptcy

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- The former Archer Daniels Midland Co. executive who served as an FBI informant in a price-fixing investigation has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Mark Whitacre, 40, listed $9.3 million in assets and $1.25 million in liabilities in documents filed Sept. 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here. About $7.5 million of the assets are in foreign bank accounts frozen by the U.S. government.

Mortgage rates decline this week

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mortgage interest rates fell this week to the lowest level in 19 months.

The decline in the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to 7.28 percent from 7.38 percent brought the average to the lowest level since the week ended Feb. 15, 1996.

Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 6.86 percent this week, also the lowest in 19 months and down from 6.94 percent a week earlier.

On one-year adjustable rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 5.51 percent this week, down from 5.53 percent last week.

In other business news

Kmart Corp. Thursday completed the sale of its Builders Square stores to buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners LP, which plans to combine the chain with struggling Hechinger Co.

Intel Corp. Thursday unveiled the Intel Quick Web Technology, software aimed at speeding up delivery of information from the World Wide Web to computers. It will be tested next month by Netcom On-Line Communication Services Inc. and Sprint Corp.

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