Business & Finance

The emergence from bankruptcy by drastically scaled-back Global Crossing Ltd. appeared imminent as the Monitor went to press. But the once high-flying telecommunications giant still confronts a major challenge in competing for increased sales, analysts said. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January of last year. It has since pared operating costs from $2 billion a year to $700 million, cut its workforce from more than 11,000 to fewer than 5,000 people, relocated its headquarters from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Florham Park, N.J., and sold majority interest to a conglomerate controlled by the government of Singapore. Creditors will own 38.5 percent of the company, and common shareholders will receive nothing.

Boeing Co. lost another contract to build passenger planes when Qatar Airways announced it has asked rival Airbus to supply it with two "super jumbos," plus two smaller jets. The deal is valued at $3 billion and includes options for 10 additional aircraft. The super jumbos are designed to carry 555 passengers, but Qatar Airways said its planes will have 460 seats, to give passengers extra leg room.

Aventis, the pharmaceuticals giant, said it has agreed to sell its 5,800-employee Behring blood-products division to CSL Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, for just under $1 billion. The deal will make CSL the world's largest maker of plasma derivatives. Aventis's headquarters are in Strasbourg, France, but the Behring unit is based in King of Prussia, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.

Federal mediators said they won't call the two sides back together in the southern California supermarket strike until "it might be fruitful to resume face-to-face discussions," the Los Angeles Times reported. Contract negotiations between the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and three chains - Vons, Albertsons Inc., and Ralphs - broke off late Sunday after the former rejected the latest wage-and-benefits offer as inadequate. One strike captain said her fellow union members "figure we're out past Christmas now."

Struggling J.C. Penney Co. will close 12 of its department stores by year's end because they aren't meeting profit targets, a spokesman said. Their locations were not identified. The company is based in Plano, Texas.

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