Business & Finance

WorldCom Inc. may add $2 billion to the $7 billion in previously disclosed accounting problems in a filing expected today with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The Wall Street Journal reported. The restatement is the second since WorldCom filed the largest bankruptcy in US corporate history in July and fueled speculation on whether the telecommunications giant can emerge intact from the proceeding, the newspaper said.

Two Merrill Lynch vice chairmen were fired for refusing to cooperate with federal investigations into the brokerage's ties to bankrupt Enron Corp. That was a violation of company policy, Merrill Lynch said, adding that it found no evidence of wrongdoing by Thomas Davis or Schuyler Tilney. Both had been on paid leave since July, when Davis declined to testify before Congress.

HealthSouth Corp. confirmed it is under investigation by the SEC. The Birmingham, Ala.-based medical-services company is being sued by shareholders angry at a revised cash-flow and earnings outlook that led the value of its stock to plunge by two-thirds since late August. The previous month, chief executive Richard Scrushy sold 2.5 million shares back to the company, in a move that has drawn added scrutiny.

Nissan Motor Co. said it will invest $1 billion in a partnership with China's second-largest automaker that is designed to produce 550,000 vehicles within four years and almost 1 million a year by 2012. The joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Co. comes on the heels of a linkup announced last month between rival Toyota and First Automotive Industry Group to build up to 400,000 vehicles in China by 2010. Honda, Japan's No. 2 automaker, expects an assembly plant it is building in China to be on line as soon as 2004.

Jaguar, one of the world's leading makers of luxury cars, announced it will cut 400 jobs to improve its "skill mix." The cuts will come mostly through early retirements and voluntary resignations, a spokesman said.

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