Business & Finance

Reports that thousands of jobs in its US operations would be cut are incorrect, Japanese advanced ceramics giant Kyocera Corp. said. In a clarification, the company said the 10,000 layoffs announced last week in Tokyo already were "largely completed" and further reductions would await "all other reasonable countermeasures." Kyocera, the world's largest maker of ceramic integrated circuits for computers and cellphones, has divisions in New Jersey, California, Arizona, and Washington State.

ConAgra, the US's second-largest marketer of food products, has placed its beef business on the market, reports said. Citing a source "close to the situation," Reuters said ConAgra has held preliminary discussions with Smithfield Foods Inc. about purchasing the beef division, which generates about $5.5 billion a year in annual sales. A deal, however, is not believed to be imminent. Among ConAgra's retail brands are Healthy Choice, Bumble Bee tuna, Armour and Hebrew National meats, and Butterball turkeys.

US oil companies with holdings in Libya were given one year by that country's government to resume operations or lose their rights. An Arabic-language newspaper published in London quoted Foreign Minister Mohamad Abdel-Rahman Chalgam as saying, "... we can't waste our fields waiting for the Americans. Either they will come and work or we will give their rights to other companies." Until 1986, US companies had been the biggest operators in Libya, but an embargo was imposed because of the Tripoli government's suspected sponsorship of terrorism. Last month, President Bush signed a five-year extension of sanctions aimed at curbing foreign investment in Libyan oil and natural-gas fields. At least one European oil company reportedly has sought permission to drill in fields whose rights are still owned by Americans.

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