Business & Finance

If a bankruptcy court approves, Alamo and National, two leading car-rental companies, will be sold to a private investment fund, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper said Cerberus Capital Management LP of New York will pay $230 million for the units but also will assume more than $2 billion in debt from ANC Rental Corp. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company is the fourth-largest in its industry. It filed for protection from creditors in late 2001. Since then it has cut costs and raised fees, but it warned last month of a loss for the first quarter in the $90 million range and said it can't assure investors of a return to profitability unless there is a reversal of the lengthy slump in travel since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For the first time in almost 20 years, jobs will be cut at Singapore Airlines, the carrier said, confirming a published report. The Straits Times newspaper said it had learned that as many as 2,500 employees would be furloughed. The airline already has cut flights by one-third as a result of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in Asia, which is blamed for a drop in passenger traffic to 53 percent of capacity. If that level doesn't rise, analysts predicted the carrier will have to post the first half-year loss in its history.

Fifty-nine banks agreed to terms of a rescue plan for SK Global Co., a leading international trading company that has been near collapse since March. The deal calls for the creditors to swap $2.4 billion worth of debt for equity in the company, a division of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate. They also will convert SK's short-term debt into longer-term obligations. The banks hold all but about 15 percent of the company's $5.2 billion in debt. SK has been in trouble since it was discovered that accounting irregularities had inflated its profit for 2001 by $1.25 billion.

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