News In Brief

Unilever announced it will lay off 25,000 employees - 10 percent of its global workforce - over the next five years to try to overcome sluggish sales and a drop in profits. An unspecified number of the cuts will be in the US, although most will be in Europe. The British-Dutch company, considered the world's largest consumer-goods conglomerate, said the move also will involve the closing of 100 of its 250 production sites. Among Unilever's 1,600 brands are Rag pasta sauces, Breyer's ice cream, Lipton teas, Elizabeth Arden and Calvin Klein fragrances, Dove soap and deodorant, Close-Up toothpaste, and Vaseline.

Consolidated Papers Inc. said it has agreed to be acquired by Scandinavian forest-products rival Stora Enso for $4.84 billion, creating the world's largest papermaker. Last year, the two companies had combined sales of $13.2 billion and a total paper production capacity of 16.5 million tons. Stora Enso is based in Helsinki, Finland; Consolidated in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. The cash, stock, and debt-assumption deal comes just four days after another trans-Atlantic forest-industry merger, in which US-based Champion International Corp. was acquired by Finnish UPM-Kymmene for $6.6 billion.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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