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May 19, 1999

* Amsted Industries Inc., the world's largest maker of train wheels, said it is making a hostile offer of $700 million in cash and assumed debt for rail parts maker Varlen Corp., which spurned Amsted's overtures. Amsted plans to start a tender offer of $35 a share for Varlen, the biggest maker of buffers that separate train cars. The bid by Chicago-based Amsted includes assuming $94.9 million in debt and is 35% more than Varlen's Monday close. Varlen rose $10 to close at $35.94 on Nasdaq, signaling that investors expect a higher offer.

* Boeing Co., the world's biggest aerospace company, said it named an investigative panel to review why its new Delta III rocket failed this month for the second time in as many attempts. The group consists of more than a dozen executives and outside consultants, including representatives from Hughes Electronics Corp., builder of the communications satellite the rocket was carrying, and Loral Space & Communications Ltd., the satellite's operator.

* Chiquita Brands International Inc., one of the two largest U.S. banana companies, said it expects second-quarter earnings to be much lower than in the year-ago period because of a drop in European banana prices. It was expected to earn 65 cents in the second quarter.

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