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An Empire Fades Away, but Its Legacy Lingers On : Final Chapter Is Being Written for What Once Was West's Greatest Industrial Power

August 04, 1985|DONNA K. H. WALTERS | Times Staff Writer

Sales were negotiated: Kaiser Sand & Gravel to Koppers Corp.; Kaiser Engineers to Houston-based Raymond International; the 50% of National Steel & Shipbuilding owned by Kaiser to its co-owner, Morrison-Knudsen; Kaiser Broadcasting to its 22.5% owner, Field Communications; Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics to a group of its managers.

Firm Was Dissolved

In 1977, Kaiser Industries was dissolved. Shareholders received cash from the sales and pro-rata shares in the affiliated companies. For every 100 shares of Kaiser Industries, a stockholder got 25 shares of Kaiser Aluminum; 13 shares of Kaiser Steel and 7 shares of Kaiser Cement.

Most of the payments were made over the next three years. Then the books were turned over to Touche Ross, where the Kaiser companies had done business for more than 25 years.

John Bond, a Touche Ross partner who is overseeing Kaiser Industries account, exhales a nostalgic sigh when he discusses finishing up his work. But in the end, he can reduce--if not define--it with a patter of numbers and dates.

Henry Mead Kaiser, whose wistfulness about his grandfather's companies is edged with a prickly sound of pain, hesitates over his words, as if they are too meager. Even with the charitable foundation and the health plan as a legacy, there's a void.

"I don't think," he says, "we'll ever create something that will have the same aura of legend about it . . ."

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