News In Brief

Although some members will struggle to comply, the OPEC cartel was instructed by its president to help produce another 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The order by Ali Rodriguez of Venezuela came two weeks after Saudi Arabia, the world's leading producer, said it would pump the extra crude alone, if necessary, to lower prices to the $25-a-barrel range. Rodriguez's order, however, is contingent on futures prices remaining above $25 a barrel by July 28; as the Monitor went to press, they were at $28.64 on the London market for September deliveries. At least three cartel members - Indonesia, Nigeria, and Iran - are believed to be pumping at full capacity already.

General Mills Inc. will almost double in size and become the world's fifth-largest food company with its acquisition of rival - and Minneapolis neighbor - Pillsbury Co., reports said. The cash-and-stock deal was valued at $10.5 billion. Pillsbury's former parent, Diageo PLC of London, will keep a one-third stake in the combined company but is expected to sell that as well within 10 years.

Dixie cups, Quilted Northern bath tissue, Sparkle paper towels, and other popular brands will come under one ownership with the announced purchase of Fort James Corp. by forest products giant Georgia-Pacific. The deal was valued at about $7.5 billion in cash and stock. Georgia-Pacific also will assume $3.5 billion in debt. Georgia-Pacific is based in Atlanta; Fort James in Deerfield, Ill.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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