Hanson Industries,, the U.S. arm of Hanson Trust PLC of Britain, said stockholders approved the $250-million merger of Kaiser Cement into Hanson Trust . . . In San Francisco, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co. said Pratt & Co. Financial Services Pty., Melbourne, Australia, will purchase its Australian affiliate, Occidental Life Insurance Co., for about $70 million U.S. . . . American Stores, the Salt Lake City company that owns Alpha Beta supermarkets and Sav-on Osco drugstores, said it expects to report lower earnings for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31 . . . Chesebrough-Pond's, a unit of Unilever, said it is offering for sale its Bass shoe division . . . General Motors has notified 109,000 white-collar workers that merit raises will be cut to an average of 3.5% this year from 5.5% in 1986, according to published reports . . . Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. has notified its unions that the company will close its Des Moines, Iowa; Bloomington, Ill., and Oklahoma City tire plants before Sept. 15. . . . Beneficial Corp. announced that it has signed an agreement in principle for the sale of American Centennial Insurance Co., its largest property and casualty insurance subsidiary, and five other insurance subsidiaries to a management-led group . . . Despite a monthlong strike during the grape picking season, U.S. wine makers last year increased their exports by 14%, to 7.2 million gallons, the Wine Institute announced.