Business & Finance

Bankrupt Air Canada is nearing a $1.4 billion financing deal with General Electric Capital Aviation Services, its biggest aircraft leaseholder, The Financial Times reported. Under the tentative accord, GE Capital would help Canada's biggest carrier buy as many as 43 new regional jets and restructure terms on 106 current planes, in a further step toward emerging from bankruptcy protection, the newspaper said.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island plans to stop handling Medicare claims in the state. The company notified the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that it intends to exit the fee-for-service business by Feb. 1 because it is no longer cost effective to maintain it just for Rhode Island. The 85 people who work in the insurer's Medicare unit will be let go, the company said.

Siebel Systems Inc. warned its second-quarter profit will fall short of Wall Street's forecast due to a 35 percent drop in software sales. The San Mateo, Calif., company, laid off about 1,600 employees during the past year and has now announced plans to further slash costs and restructure operations. While he didn't provide specifics, founder and chief executive Tom Siebel said Thursday that the latest changes will include "eliminating a layer of management" and "ending some unprofitable business operations."

Boston Scientific Corp. plans to hire 1,200 workers this year, mainly at plants in Minnesota and Ireland, company officials said. The medical-device producer based in Natick, Mass., anticipates approval by the Food and Drug Administration of its Taxus product, already sold in Europe.

Talks aimed at averting the layoff of 2,000 Volkswagen workers in Mexico are set to begin Monday between the German automaker and union negotiators. A spokesman said labor leaders will propose 20 percent pay cuts and a four-day work week instead. Volkswagen last week announced it was reducing daily production in Mexico by 23 percent.

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