Merrill Lynch & Co., the largest U.S.based retail stockbrokerage firm, announced a major restructuring, which will likely result in large-scale layoffs among its 40,500 employees around the world, including 1,100 at Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. Earlier in the week, second-ranked . Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. began laying off 800 employees.
HUGHES WINS A PLUM
Federal Transport Minister Benoît Bouchard announced that Hughes Aircraft of Canada Ltd., a newly created subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Hughes Aircraft Co., has been awarded a $380-million government contract to manufacture a new generation of computerized air-traffic-control equipment for Canada’s major airports. Hughes chairman Malcolm Currie said that more than 80 per cent of the work will be done in Canada.
CINEPLEX SHARES TUMBLE
The price of Cineplex Odeon Corp. shares plummeted to a 52-week low of $10.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, reflecting investors’ doubts that the company’s combative chairman, Garth Drabinsky, will be able to raise the close to $1 billion he needs to finance his proposed $16.40per-share takeover bid.
MERIEUX SWEETENS ITS OFFER
In an effort to overcome Investment Canada’s objections to its takeover of Toronto’s Connaught BioSciences Inc., French serum-maker Institut Mérieux SA promised that it would spend at least $160 million on research and development in Canada over five years.
CABLE NETWORK FOR SALE
Canada’s fifth-largest cable television operator, Toronto-based Cablecasting Ltd., announced that it will sell off its Canadian cable network in order to expand its interests in Great Britain. Analysts estimated that the network, which serves 316,000 paying subscribers in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and several other communities, could fetch close to $350 million.
LAIDLAW SEEKS DEBT RELIEF
Laidlaw Transportation Ltd., the profitable but debt-laden Burlington, Ont.based waste-management and school-bus manufacturing firm, announced a plan to issue $515 million worth of new shares. Proceeds from the sale, which follows a successful $500.5-million share offering last March, will be used to reduce its $ 1.3-billion debt.
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