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BETHLEHEM TO SHUT DOWN 800-EMPLOYEE PA. COKE PLANT

Bethlehem Steel Corp. today said it will shut down its Bethlehem Coke division in its headquarters city due to "significant operating losses."

The shutdown will not have any impact on Bethlehem's coke operations in Lackawanna, which employ about 350 people but are part of the firm's Burns Harbor Division, a company spokeswoman said.

The steelmaker's Bethlehem, Pa.-based plant, which employs about 800 workers, will close in March following unsuccessful efforts to restructure and return the unit to "a satisfactory level of profitability," the steelmaker said.

The company, which also has galvanized products operations in Lackawanna, said it will try to sell the coke unit but that it hasn't received any inquiries from potential buyers.

In October 1996, the company wrote off the property, plant and equipment of the coke division as part of a restructuring plan. Since then, it has attempted without success to improve the division's performance.

Shaw closing 100 carpet stores

DALTON, Ga. (Bloomberg) -- Shaw Industries Inc. said it will close about 100 of its retail carpet and floor-covering stores that are unprofitable or that overlap with other Shaw stores.

The Dalton-based company said the closings will affect about 600 workers. Shaw officials weren't immediately available to comment.

Shaw said it expects to take a fourth-quarter charge for the closings of about $22.8 million, or 17 cents a share. The maker of carpets and rugs was expected to earn 17 cents a share in the quarter, the average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by IBES International Inc.

Simon DeBartolo, partner buy malls

INDIANAPOLIS (Bloomberg) -- Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., which owns Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence, and Macerich Co. said they agreed to buy 12 malls from pension fund adviser ERE Yarmouth for $974.5 million, including the assumption of debt, highlighting the mall industry's rapid consolidation.

Indianapolis-based Simon, the U.S.'s largest real estate company, and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich formed a 50-50 joint venture to buy the properties, which are located in eight states from Florida to South Dakota. The purchase price includes the assumption of $485 million of debt.

The malls are in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.; Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Evansville, Ind.; Media, Pa.; Moline, Ill.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Leesburg, Fla.; and Harrisonburg, Va.

New limo reported to have defects

MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Daimler-Benz's new model of its S-Class limousine has a long list of weaknesses that need fixing before its planned introduction next fall, a magazine reports.

But the Munich-based news weekly Focus also quoted an unnamed spokesman for the automaker as saying the new luxury car would be ready as planned. Daimler-Benz officials were not available for comment during the holiday weekend.

Engineers have uncovered 150 defects, including bugs in the computer system that guides steering, and a rear-view mirror that appears too dark at night, Focus said.

Local OKs pact with Uniroyal

WOODBURN, Ind. (AP) -- Striking workers at Uniroyal Goodrich's plant overwhelmingly approved a contract settlement that will put some of them back on the job next year.

Eighty-nine percent of the 1,200 members of the United Steelworkers of America Local 715 voted Saturday to approve the settlement aimed at ending their two-month strike.

"We made some gains. We fought off a lot of the company's concessions. But there are some things in it we're not particularly happy about," Local 715 President Ray Wiseman said.

It is uncertain when the union members will return to work at the plant 15 miles east of Fort Wayne. Uniroyal Goodrich Company spokeswoman Athene Karis said the company and union would begin talks Jan. 5 to determine when and how many workers will return.

Iraq sells Jordan oil at half price

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq today agreed to supply Jordan with more than 35 million barrels of oil in 1998 at half the world price.

A similar discount also was given this year in keeping with Saddam Hussein's efforts to maintain good relations with Jordan, Iraq's only gateway to the outside world.

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