News In Brief

General Motors and the main creditor for bankrupt auto-maker Daewoo reached agreement to open formal negotiations over the assets of the South Korean company as soon as today. The two parties said they were committed to proceeding as rapidly as possible, but a GM spokesman said there was no deadline for concluding a deal. Daewoo ended last year with liabilities of $17.2 billion, and all other efforts to interest a foreign buyer have ended in failure. Last September, Ford abruptly backed out of a deal for Daewoo that would have been worth $$6.9 billion.

Conoco, the Houston-based oil giant, will pay $4.3 billion for Gulf Canada Resources Ltd., an independent energy exploration and production company, reports said. The deal also includes the assumption of about $2 billion in debt. Conoco will gain a 50 percent increase in proven natural gas reserves in North America as well as Gulf Canada's operations in Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Ecuador. Gulf Canada's headquarters will remain in Calgary, Alberta.

The world's largest maker of paper for magazine publishing, UPM-Kymmene Corp., announced it is buying German rival Haindl Papier GmbH for $3.1 billion. UPM-Kymmene, based in Helsinki, Finland, dropped out of the bidding at $7.3 billion last May to merge with US forest products giant Champion International.

In its latest move to join the ranks of the largest insurance companies in Europe, Amsterdam-based Eureko BV consortium said it will pay $1.2 billion for majority interest in Greece's largest carrier, Interamerica. Last year, Eureko bought a 90 percent stake in Foreign & Colonial Enterprise Trust PLC of London.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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