Here is a look at more of Friday's top business stories:
Georgia-Pacific will lay off 300
ATLANTA, April 4 (UPI) -- Georgia-Pacific Corp. announced Friday that it will retire two tissue-manufacturing machines at its mill, and lay off 300 employees.
The company said tissue production at the mill will be shifted to Georgia-Pacific mills elsewhere. The pulp operations and dryer in Old Town, Maine, will continue to operate, enabling the mill to retain more than 200 jobs.
Georgia-Pacific officials said hourly employees who are losing their jobs will be paid for 60 days along with unused vacation time. Salaried employees are eligible for severance benefits.
"This decision has nothing to do with the quality workforce at Old Town; they've done an outstanding job," said David Spraley, a senior vice president with Georgia-Pacific. "However, the overcapacity of paper, the mill's geographic location, and energy and fiber costs make this decision necessary."
Ralph Feck, vice president of the Old Town Mill, said the company was assisting employees on how to obtain unemployment and other benefits.
The tissue machines that are being retired made about 9.2 million cases a year of Brawny, Vanity Fair and Quilted Northern bath and napkin products, company officials said.
Japan's No. 2 bank seen posting losses again
Tokyo, April 4 (UPI) -- Japan's second-largest bank reported Friday that it anticipates a group net loss of $39.4 billion (470 billion yen) for the last fiscal year ended March, instead of the initial forecast of a $251.21 million (30 billion yen) profit.
Stock losses and loan loss charges are the two biggest factors leading Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. to record two straight years of losses, the company said.
SMFG's loan-loss charges are expected to reach $8.96 billion (1.07 trillion yen), and its standing was badly hurt from the continued decline in the Japanese stock market. The group's parent company alone expects to incur about $5.28 billion (630 billion yen) in stock-related losses. The Nikkei stock average reached its lowest level in 20 years last month, breaking the psychologically critical 8,000 level.
The bank had struggled to raise $4.15 billion (495 billion yen) in additional capital to ensure that its capital adequacy ratio did not fall below 8 percent, the minimum amount required by the Bank for International Settlements in order to be able to operate internationally.
United Airlines CEO takes additional pay cut
CHICAGO, April 4 (UPI) -- UAL Corp. announced Friday that Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn F. Tilton has elected to reduce his 2003 salary by an additional 14 percent, effective April 1.
In December, Tilton reduced his annual salary by 11 percent. The net effect of Friday's announcement will be a 25 percent reduction in his annual salary, or a reduction of $237,500, to $712,500.
"Given the new financial challenges to United and this industry created by the current external environment, I believe this is an appropriate step," said Tilton. "Everyone at United is contributing significantly and proportionately to our financial recovery, and we all recognize that, in the near term, additional sacrifice may become necessary."
Tilton joined the company on Sept. 2, 2002.
Kraft borrows from banks
NORTHFIELD, Ill., April 4 (UPI) -- Kraft Foods Inc., the U.S. food maker controlled by Alteria Group Inc., said it has begun to borrow from bank credit line to repay commercial paper after being unable to sell more short-term securities.
Access to the commercial paper market was lost because the ratings of Kraft, along with fellow Altria company Philip Morris USA, were reduced this week, Kraft said in a statement. Credit rating companies have raised concern that Philip Morris may seek bankruptcy protection.
"These borrowings will be used to meet Kraft's normal business needs, including the repayment of maturing commercial paper and funding of working capital needs," the company said.
While switching to bank lines will raise borrowing costs, Kraft said the impact is not expected to be significant to 2003 full year results. The company maintained its profit forecast of $2.10 to $2.15 a share for 2003.
US Airways names Bronner as its chairman
ARLINGTON, Va., April 4 (UPI) -- US Airway's new board of directors has selected David G. Bronner, chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, as its chairman.
The RSA controls eight seats on the airline's board of directors and 38 percent of the airline's stock.
The retirement fund, with assets of more than $24 billion, provided a $240 million investment in the airline and $500 million in financing that helped the airline emerge Monday after only eight months in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"Bonner and RSA have been extremely supportive throughout our restructuring and share this management's full enthusiasm for the direction the company has charter to prosper," said David N. Siegel, US Airways president and chief executive officer.
Bronner will chair the board in a non-executive capacity. Siegel will continue to manage day-to-day operations.