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CHAMPION TO CUT 2,000 JOBS, SELL OFF SEVERAL BUSINESSES

Champion International today said it will sell its newsprint, paper recycling and other businesses along with Northeast timberland and cut 2,000 jobs to reverse sagging profits.

Champion plans to focus on producing more expensive paper products, including magazine and catalog paper and paper for copy machines, said company spokeswoman Gael Doar.

The businesses to be sold employ about 6,200 people, or 26 percent of its work force, and last year accounted for $1.4 billion in net sales.

The company plans to cut 2,000 jobs from its remaining businesses by the end of 1999, a reduction of about 11 percent. The cuts include a reduction in manufacturing jobs as well in corporate and other jobs at its Stamford headquarters and a facility in Knightsbridge, Ohio.

Among the operations being sold are a Deferiet, N.Y. mill that manufactures paper for telephone books and sales circulars.

Consumer debt growth slows
WASHINGTON (AP) -- American consumers slackened their pace of borrowing in August, reflecting slower spending growth and increased wariness by lenders.

Consumer debt outstanding grew at a 4.2 percent annual rate to a seasonally adjusted $1.23 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday. That was down from a 5.9 percent growth rate in July.

"Consumers are borrowing at a very modest pace," said economist Sandra Shaber of the WEFA Group in Eddystone, Pa. "This is hardly spending out of control."

Auto lending contracted at a 1.7 percent annual rate -- the most since October 1992. It had grown at a 5.6 percent annual rate in July and 11.4 percent in June.

Revolving loans, which includes credit cards, rose at a 7.1 percent annual rate in August, slower than the 15.1 percent advance in July.

Frito-Lay buys Cracker Jack
PLANO, Texas (AP) -- Snack food leader Frito-Lay Co. is buying the Cracker Jack business from Borden Foods, and hopes to energize sales of the candy-coated popcorn sold with a toy surprise in every box.

No terms of the transaction were disclosed.

"Cracker Jack is an American icon with universal appeal and tremendous brand equity," Steve Reinemund, chairman and chief executive of Frito-Lay, said today in announcing the deal.

Frito-Lay, the snack foods division of PepsiCo, has operation in 40 countries. Its brands include Lay's potato chips, Doritos Tortilla Chips and Cheetos snacks.

Rail unions to fight Conrail deal
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Union leaders promised Tuesday to fight a $10 billion plan to carve up Conrail.

At an executive meeting of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, union leaders adopted a resolution opposing a proposal by CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. to take over Conrail lines and control virtually all rail traffic east of Kansas City.

Labor is concerned that the two companies project eliminating 2,000 job positions nationwide, but it also is worried that the East will be plagued with the type of safety and service problems that followed consolidations of Western railroads.

Fed vice chairwoman is upbeat
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- The economy probably is growing as fast as it can without crossing into the area where inflation becomes a danger, Alice Rivlin, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board, said Tuesday.

"There are no clear signs of overheating yet,' Ms. Rivlin told a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Nor is there any sign that the nation's economic expansion, now in its seventh year, is running out of steam, she added.

Chrysler recalling more vehicles
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chrysler Corp. will recall 1.1 million minivans to replace a seat belt anchor that is prone to becoming unhooked from the floor, the company said Tuesday.

Affected are 1991-93 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager, and Chrysler Town and Country minivans.

Just on Monday, Chrysler announced that it is recalling seat belt buckle covers on bucket seats in the 1991-1993 minivans.

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