Business & Finance

Consolidated Freightways, a major trucking company, announced the layoffs of 15,500 workers as well as plans to file immediately for bankruptcy protection. In a letter to employees, the 73-year-old company said it lacked enough cash to continue and that discussions with potential lenders for "significant additional financial resources" had been fruitless. Consolidated, based in Vancouver, Wash., has 350 terminals and more than 30,000 trucks in the US, Canada, and Mexico. It billed itself as the third-largest "less-than-truckload" carrier, seeking partial shipments from several companies to haul over the same routes. But it reported losses of $104 million in 2001 and $36.5 million in the first quarter of this year.

UAL Corp., the parent of struggling United Airlines, named industry outsider Glenn Tilton to lead its recovery effort. Tilton, who has been vice chairman of ChevronTexaco and acting chairman of energy trader Dynegy Inc., said he was confident he could return the world's second-largest carrier to financial stability by working cooperatively with all stakeholders. United is 55 percent employee-owned and is seeking big concessions from its unions after warning of bankruptcy. It has lost almost $3 billion over the past 18 months.

With analysts saying "There's no reason to buy," the widely watched Nikkei stock index slid to a 19-year low despite the Japanese government's assurances that the national economy has bottomed out. Tuesday's close, 9,217.04, the lowest since Sept. 19, 1983, was caused largely by selloffs of shares in banking and financial-services companies and electronics exporters. The analysts said it was likely that corporate investors were dumping some of their holdings to improve the look of their books as they prepare to report on first-half earnings Sept. 30.

Roche, a leading maker of pharmaceuticals, said it will sell its vitamins and fine chemicals business to the Dutch group DSM for $2.2 billion. The deal requires the OK of European Union antitrust regulators. Roche is based in Basel, Switzerland. DSM, a major supplier to the automotive, electronics, and packaging industries, makes specialty chemicals, plastics, resins, food additives, and fertilizers. Its headquarters are in Heerlen, the Netherlands.

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