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March 31, 2001

* Ford Motor Co. will cut one shift, or about 830 jobs, from a highly profitable sport-utility vehicle plant in Wayne, Mich., in response to slowing sales. The move comes as Ford launches its redesigned Explorer SUV and deals with the aftermath of the Firestone tire recall. The Wayne plant builds the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator. Sales of those two SUVs were down 15% through February amid increased competition from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Many of the 830 workers affected will be offered work in other Ford plants.

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* Williams Cos., the No. 2 U.S. pipeline company, said it will spin off 400 million shares in Williams Communications Group, or about 95% of its stake, to focus on its energy businesses. Williams Communications operates a 33,000-mile fiber-optic communications network. The shares will be distributed April 23. Shareholders of record on April 9 will receive 0.82 of a Williams Communications share for every Williams share they hold.

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* Georgia-Pacific Corp. said it will shutter a pulp mill and chemical plant in Bellingham, Wash., and fire 420 workers because of the high costs of pulp and electrical power.

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