Business & Finance

United Airlines told unions it needs $2.4 billion in annual labor cutbacks, up from the $1 billion conditionally approved by rank-and-file employees before the carrier's Dec. 9 bankruptcy filing, The Wall Street Journal reported. Unless there's an agreement by mid-February, United warned it could lose the financing that allows it to keep operating while it restructures, the Journal said. United declined comment for the report.

Citing disappointing financial results, Dow Chemical Co. removed Michael Parker as president and chief executive and returned both posts to William Stavropoulos, who'd retired in 2000. A merger with Union Carbide last year made Dow the world's second-largest chemical company, after DuPont. But lower-than-expected earnings in the past eight quarters, due in part to increased fuel costs, have prompted a variety of spending cuts.

An end appeared in sight to the month-long battle for control of Crédit Lyonnais, France's sixth-largest bank, as of Monday morning. Larger rival Crédit Agricole scheduled a news conference in Paris to announce details of its reported $19.9 takeover bid, a cash-and-stock offer described as friendly. If agreed to, the deal would make the combined company one of Europe's largest banks, with a market value of $32.4 billion and a 28 percent share of the retail banking market in France. Crédit Agricole currently holds a 17.4 percent stake in Crédit Lyonnais. BNP Paribas, which owns 16.2 percent and had appeared primed for a takeover bid of its own, said late last week it wouldn't stand in the way of an "acceptable" offer by Agricole. A BNP spokeswoman declined Monday to comment on the latest development in the saga, except to say that her company was keeping its options - among them a possible counterbid - open.

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