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Another 2,000 employees will leave the company by Dec. 31 in a radical restructuring of British Telecom (BT), reports said. But a management announcement stressed that the losses would be "voluntary" and on top of 3,000 "redundancies" that already have been "reduced," the reports said. BT also will divide its cellphone, data business, networking, and business directories into separate units under a holding company. Analysts say BT, privatized by Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government in 1984, has become bloated in the Internet age. Its debt is projected to reach $42.6 billion by early next year.

Nissan was expected to announce formally the construction of a truck plant in Mississippi that eventually will employ 4,000 people. The Japanese automaker will spend $900 million to build the facility; the state will contribute $295 million.

A $1.5 billion stock deal was announced by two utilities to create a company that serves more than 1 million retail electric customers in New Mexico and Kansas. Public Service Co. of New Mexico, based in Albuquerque, also will assume about $2.9 billion in debt of Topeka, Kan.-based Western Resources Inc.

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Benjamin Moore, a leading maker of paints, will be acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in a deal valued at about $1 billion, the companies said. The chairman of the latter firm, based in Omaha, Neb., is billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Benjamin Moore is based in Montvale, N.J.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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