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March 21, 1997

United Airlines' machinists union ratified a new wage agreement by an 80% margin, ending a showdown that had jeopardized the Chicago-based carrier's employee ownershipplan. The agreement includes two pay raises of 5% each. . . . Sunglass Hut International Inc. plans to close 150 stores and all 28 of its EyeX optical outlets. The Coral Gables, Fla., company lost $24.4 million, or 45 cents a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter, contrasted with net income of $4.9 million, or 9 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 17% but same-store sales were down 3.7%. . . . Phillips Petroleum Co. and Texaco Inc. received approval from the Venezuelan government to join a venture to produce and upgrade heavy oil in the country. Phillips and Texaco would each have a 20% stake in the 35-year project, which could top $3.5 billion. . . . PTP Industries Inc. of Baltimore, which organized many of America Online Inc.'s promotional mailings, said it has laid off 600 workers because AOL refuses to pay it millions of dollars it is owed. The online service has acknowledged the nonpayment, saying PTP overbilled it.

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