Here is a look at more of Thursday's top business stories:
PolyOne to close 3 plants, cuts staff
CLEVELAND, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- PolyOne Corp., the world's largest polymer services company, said it plans to close three plants, cut 300 jobs and take a charge of $26 million over the next six months.
The company also said it would invest $19 million in expanding nine remaining vinyl compound plants.
The company said it expects the closings to result in charges of $19 million and $7 million in asset write-downs. It said $22 million of charges would be taken in the fourth quarter, and $4 million would be taken in the first quarter of 2002.
Two of the plant closings will be in New Jersey and one will be in Quebec.
The company said the Burlington, N.J., plant produces rigid vinyl compounds and the Farmingdale, N.J., site includes a vinyl compound operation, a lab and a commercial office. The Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada site produces cross-linked polyethylene as part of the Syncure product line.
The company said it expected to transfer 25 employees to the facilities it is expanding but to cut 300 manufacturing and salaried jobs. The company said the closings would result in a $21 million annual earnings improvement by 2003.
"We are taking these steps because we are committed to remaining the industry leader in vinyl compounding," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas A. Waltermire. "To build on our position, we must become an even better supplier. By investing in vinyl compounding capability for our customers, we strengthen PolyOne.
"Before announcing our plans, we conducted a thorough, thoughtful analysis of all our vinyl compound facilities," Waltermire said.
"We will proceed in the same manner, achieving a phased transition, and seeking full customer approval," he added.
Morgan Stanley combines 2 groups
NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Morgan Stanley said it combined its international private client group and its private wealth management group into one unit, putting its former head of global research in charge of the combined operation.
The combined business, which is named Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, will encompass 73 offices globally and have about 2,000 employees.
Mayree Clark, who has been at Morgan Stanley for 20 years and most recently served as global director of research, will be in charge of the combined unit.
"A single-platform approach ensures that the client segment which is most important to the success of our global growth strategy enjoys the full benefit of all of the resources a firm like ours can provide," said John Schaefer, president of the company's individual investor group.
Dennis Shea, formerly head of global equities research, will replace Clark as head of global research. Robert Sculthorpe and Stephen Miller, formerly heads of the international private client group and private wealth management group, respectively, will become advisory directors of Morgan Stanley's individual investor group.
Barnes & Noble posts 3rd quarter pro-forma loss
NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. said it posted a third quarter pro-forma loss during the quarter ended Nov. 3 of 8 cents a share compared with a loss of 4 cents a share during the same period last year.
Retail net earnings were $6.1 million, or 9 a share for the quarter, at the high end of revised guidance.
Barnes & Noble, which also warned earlier this month of a shortfall in 2001 earnings, citing the nation's preoccupation with the war in Afghanistan, said sales in the quarter rose to $791 million from $768.7 million.
Barnes & Noble super store sales for the third quarter ended Nov. 3 rose 5 percent to $724.6 million.
Comparable super store sales were up 0.2 percent.
Conexant Systems sees higher revenue
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Conexant Systems Inc. said it expects revenue for the December quarter to be 5 percent to 7 percent above the prior quarter's, driven by strong demand for chips used in wireless devices like mobile phones.
The maker of integrated circuits for communications applications reported $201 million in revenue for its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, bringing the expected first quarter revenue outlook to between $211.1 million and $215.1 million.
Analysts on the average had expected the company to book $210.2 million in revenue and post a 46 cents a share loss, excluding items, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.
The company, which had predicted modest growth at the beginning of the first quarter ending in December, said the improved outlook reflected a continued strong performance in its Wireless Communications Division, where revenue is expected to rise about 25 percent over than in the fourth quarter, when revenue had risen 24 percent from the previous quarter.
"This is the result of strong demand across our wireless product portfolio, including power amplifiers, complete GSM cellular system solutions and radio frequency subsystems," said Chairman and Chief Executive Dwight Decker.