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United Airlines "will perish sometime next year" unless it can reverse a pattern of losses in which costs are four times higher than revenues, its chief executive warned. In a letter to employees, James Goodwin said United already was not "in a comfortable financial state" before Sept. 11. An industry analyst, however, said he'd be "shocked" if United were to collapse, and a spokesman for the carrier's unionized pilots called the warning "old news," and said "We want to see the numbers."

Ingersoll-Rand, a leading maker of construction and refrigeration-systems equipment, became the latest US company to shift its place of incorporation to Bermuda. The move shields all future earnings on overseas sales from US taxes. Ingersoll-Rand previously had been based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Among other US companies that have incorporated in Bermuda - or announced plans to: Tyco, Cooper Industries, and Actuant Corp. (formerly Applied Power Inc.).

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In layoff news:

• Matsushita Electric, the Japanese maker of Panasonic products, will cut 8,000 contract workers from the payroll, a spokesman said. Last month, the company laid off 1,000 full-time employees.

• TRW, the Cleveland-based engineering conglomerate, said it will lay off 2,400 workers as part of a plan to consolidate its automotive systems business into a single division. The announcement was the second of its type in less than a week. Earlier, the company indicated it will trim 1,100 jobs in its aerospace division.

• i2 Technologies Inc. announced 1,000 layoffs, or 20 percent of its workforce. The Dallas maker of business-to-business software acquired rival Aspect Development Inc. in March of last year for $9.3 billion.

• Merrill Lynch & Co., the US's largest investment brokerage, acknowledged it has been reviewing staffing levels due to "a deteriorating revenue environment," but refused to confirm a published report that it will cut 10,000 jobs.


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