COMPANIES

MNC Financial said that it launched an internal restructuring in response to real estate losses and that the move could lead to a number of layoffs. MNC is a bank holding company with 12,000 employees. Its operations include Maryland National, Equitable and American Security banks.

Sears senior debt, valued at about $2.7 billion, was placed on credit alert by Fitch Investors Service, which cited a bleak financial outlook for the nation's largest retailer. Fitch said the likelihood of a recession, another poor Christmas selling season and the probability of material write-offs could lead to another downgrade.

Phillips Petroleum was accused of selling gasoline to its independent distributors in Florida at a higher wholesale price than the retail price charged at its company-operated stations, State Attorney General Bob Butterworth said. Butterworth requested an immediate injunction to halt the alleged price-discrimination practices.

General Motors extended the shutdown of its Willow Run, Mich., assembly plant until after Labor Day, citing excess inventory of new Chevrolet Caprice cars. About 4,200 workers are affected by the action, but some may stay on the job maintaining equipment during the production halt, the company said.

Weyerhaeuser, whose retirement fund lost more than $35 million in investment funds, sued Hedged Securities Associates, the limited partnership where the money was placed. Hedged Securities lost more than $100 million earlier this month after allegedly taking excessive positions in options on UAL Corp.

TCBY Enterprises, the Little Rock, Ark.-based frozen yogurt franchiser, is the subject of a lawsuit by a shareholder who accuses top management of securities fraud and misrepresentation. Kenneth Irvine, the New Jersey investor who filed the suit, contends TCBY inflated stock prices by making false and misleading statements and by concealing adverse information about TCBY's finances.

Federated and Allied department store chains said they intend to negotiate more than $500 million in additional tax claims by the Internal Revenue Service. The claims involve issues that include the tax deductibility of merger and takeover expenses related to Campeau Corp.'s acquisitions of Federated Department Stores Inc. and Allied Stores Corp.

Goodyear, citing continued sluggishness in the vehicle manufacturing market, said about 270 employees at its Union City, Tenn., plant and 530 at its Valleyfield, Quebec, plant will be laid off temporarily.

Danaher Corp.'s board authorized the company to purchase an additional 1.5 million of its common shares as market conditions warrant. Danaher said it has repurchased 1.6 million shares to date under a prior repurchase authorization.

ECONOMY

Factory orders for durable and nondurable goods rose 1.6 percent in July, the Commerce Department said. So far this year, orders have been up in three months and down in four.

F.W. Dodge's index an indicator of future construction activity fell 5 percent to 148 in July from 156 in June, the company said. The index is based on a 1982 level of 100.

Mutual fund sales totaled $12.5 billion in July, down from $13 billion in June, the Investment Company Institute said. But the funds' total assets set a new record last month.

PEOPLE

Harold C. Simmons, the Texas billionaire who lost a proxy battle with Lockheed this spring, has increased his stake in the company and offered to pay $35 a share for 10 million more shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Simmons increased his stake in Lockheed to 19.8 percent and seeks to control more than 35 percent of the defense contractor.

Donald Trump is intensifying efforts to find a partner to reduce his massive debt at the Plaza Hotel, according to real estate sources. Trump has been seeking a participating loan deal that would allow him to pay off a good portion of his $413 million debt at the hotel yet retain control of the property.

Gary Watson will become the president of a newly consolidated newspaper group at Gannett effective Oct. 1, the company confirmed.

CONTRACTS

Electronic Data Systems won a 10-year contract valued at $450 million from First Fidelity Bancorporation of Lawrenceville, N.J., to integrate and manage its data center operations.

Martin Marietta was awarded an $11 million contract by GE to become the second manufacturing source for sophisticated electronic diagnostic equipment for the Navy.

Computer Sciences Raytheon won a $68.2 million Air Force contract for operation of the Eastern Space and Missile Center.

ITT won a $58.9 million Air Force contract to operate the Western Space and Missile Center.

COURTS

Kellogg filed a federal lawsuit against the Texas attorney general's office for trying to force the company to change the labeling on its controversial psyllium-based cereal Heartwise. The cereal maker last week sued the Iowa attorney general's office, contending it has harassed the company for two years over health claims on several of its products.