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Business digest

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 15, 2001

REAL ESTATE RUSH: The terrorist attack that toppled the World Trade Center may have destroyed or damaged as much as 30-million square feet of office space, setting off a search for quarters that threatens New York City's economy. Rebuilding just half of that space -- the amount believed completely wiped out -- would cost as much as $6-billion at a prevailing cost of $400 per square foot, according to real estate experts. In the meantime, displaced companies, including Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and American Express Co., have begun to sign leases for offices in the suburbs. American Express, whose headquarters is at the World Financial Center, has already moved workers to sites in New Jersey.

VERIZON FIXING PHONE LINES: Verizon Communications Inc. expects phone and data lines damaged in terrorist attacks Tuesday will be repaired in time for the New York Stock Exchange's opening Monday morning. Verizon said yesterday it's unable to provide 20 percent of data services it usually offers the New York Stock Exchange from circuits in an office next to the World Trade Center. Of the company's 2-million local-phone lines in Manhattan, 10 percent are served from the damaged office and can't be used.

POSSIBLE CUTS AT NORTHWEST: Northwest Airlines told its pilots union that the carrier is considering a layoff as U.S. airlines review flight schedules after Tuesday's terrorist attacks. The company plans to provide more information next week, the Air Line Pilots Association said. The airline planned to resume 20 percent of scheduled service Friday and and 50 percent today, though it doesn't have a target date for restarting all flights. Northwest declined to provide information about the possibility of layoffs.

FORD CUTS FORECAST: Ford Motor Co. reduced its third-quarter earnings forecast and production as auto-parts deliveries are delayed by tighter security at the U.S.-Canada border and by grounded flights. Ford said it will earn less than its forecast of 10 cents a share before one-time items. Ford reduced third-quarter North American production as much as 13 percent.

ARTIFICIAL HIP RECALL: The Food and Drug Administration ordered the recall of hundreds of artificial hips because one piece -- the joint ball -- is made of a ceramic that may suddenly crack. It's the second major recall of artificial hips in the past year. The French company St. Gobain Desmarquest recalled nine batches of its ceramic femoral heads -- the ball portion of the hip implant -- that were manufactured since early 1998. Eight U.S. makers of artificial hips use the ceramic part: Apex Surgical; Encore Orthopedics Inc.; Osteoimplant Technology Inc.; Smith & Newphew; Stryker Howmedica Osteonics; Biomet Inc.; DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.; and Zimmer Inc. Sulzer Medica recalled thousands of its artificial hips last December, after a manufacturing change left an oily residue on some that prevented the new joint from bonding with patients' bones.

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