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April 30, 1999

Greenwich, Conn.-based Tenneco Inc., which makes Monroe shock absorbers and Hefty trash bags, said it will spin off its packaging company to shareholders, the final stage of a transformation that began in 1992. The new company would have $3 billion in annual sales of aluminum, plastic bags, fiber packing and other materials. Tenneco plans to retain its auto parts business, the world's largest maker of shock absorbers and car exhausts. Both companies will be based in Lake Forest, Ill., home of the automotive business. Investors will get one share of the packaging company's stock for each Tenneco share. Tenneco also reported first-quarter profit from continuing operations of $45 million, or 27 cents a share, down 40% from a year ago, with sales little changed at $1.85 billion.

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AMP Inc. said it is eliminating about 8,000 jobs, or 16% of its work force worldwide. The maker of connectors for electrical devices has been hit hard by the Asian economic crisis and a failed expansion. The business, bought earlier this month by Bermuda-based Tyco International Ltd., hopes to save $1 billion in the next two years. Last year, Harrisburg, Pa.-based AMP shook up its top management and cut 4,800 jobs as part of a plan to save $400 million. But that effort failed and all those jobs were replaced within a few months, AMP said. The latest round of cuts includes those jobs and an additional 3,200 positions. About half of the positions being eliminated will be in the United States.

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U.S. tax refunds are running 21.9% ahead of last year's pace as taxpayers claimed new tax credits and set records for the number of returns filed electronically. The IRS reported it sent taxpayers $109.5 billion in refunds through April 23, up from $89.8 billion during the same period last year. The average refund so far is $1,542, up from $1,342 for the same period. Many Americans are receiving their money earlier this year because they are filing electronically. For example, 23.3 million taxpayers used a computer to send their tax returns, up 26.7% from 18.4 million during the same period last year.

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