Business & Finance

Honeywell International announced a $1.47 billion loss in the fourth quarter, with a $2.8 billion writedown due in large part to an anticipated settlement of asbestos claims. The aerospace and auto-parts giant also agreed to sell its Bendix brake-parts unit - a target of asbestos lawsuits - to bankrupt Federal-Mogul Corp. for an undisclosed sum, with Federal-Mogul accepting all liabilities.

Conseco Inc., which filed the third-largest bankruptcy in US history in December, submitted a reorganization plan Friday to a federal bankruptcy court in Chicago. The proposal would reduce Conseco's $6.5 billion in debt to $1.4 billion and would auction off its money-losing consumer-finance business. Conseco is based in Carmel, Ind.

Charles Schwab announced he'll give up the title of co-chief executive in May at the discount brokerage that bears his name. Schwab cited the need for the posts of chairman and chief executive to be "distinct" following recent high-profile US corporate scandals. He also is the firm's largest shareholder.

BellSouth Corp. sued to block vice chairman Gary Forsee from returning to his previous employer, Sprint Corp., as chairman and chief executive, Dow Jones news service reported. The telecommunications rivals are in talks on the proposed move, which a BellSouth spokesman said would violate Forsee's contract.

The final two opponents of E.ON's proposed $10 billion takeover of Ruhrgas dropped their objections late last week, clearing the way for its completion. Both companies are German; the latter is Europe's largest importer of natural gas. In all, nine objectors had challenged the takeover, setting up what analysts said was the strong likelihood that it would be blocked by the courts. The Financial Times said E.ON reached deals with a German utility and a Finnish energy trader costing an estimated $92 million to drop their opposition.

Restructuring Tyco International announced it has won a $1.5 billion line of credit to help eliminate "the liquidity gap [it] would have faced later this year." The unsecured credit line was arranged by Bank of America Securities and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc. The company also recently sold $4.5 billion in convertible bonds. Tyco is due to make payments this month of about $5.8 billion on its debt.

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