Business & Finance

The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Parmalat Monday. In a federal court filing in New York, regulators accused the bankrupt Italian food giant of "grossly misstating" assets to US investors while perpetrating "one of the largest and most brazen" corporate frauds in history. US investors hold some $1.5 billion in Parmalat bonds and notes. Meanwhile, an attorney for jailed founder and ex-chief executive Calisto Tanzi said his client has admitted diverting some $600 million in company funds.

AES Corp., a global leader in independent power production, reached a deal Monday to restructure $1.2 billion in debt owed to Brazil's government. As part of the agreement, AES will unite its four Brazilian holdings - which include Eletropaulo, the utility that serves São Paulo and is the nation's largest - into a single entity. The company, Brasiliana Energia, will be 49.9 percent controlled by the government-run National Development Bank. AES is based in Arlington, Va.

Lehman Brothers was poised to complete a takeover, along with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, of troubled London-based hotel chain Le Meridien in a $1.2 billion debt deal, published reports said. Lehman owns about $354 million of Le Meridien's $1.8 billion debt and has been in talks with several hoteliers on a possible rescue plan, Dow Jones News Service said. Le Meridien has some 130 hotels in 56 countries. Starwood, based in White Plains, N.Y., operates the Sheraton, Westin, and W Hotels, among others.

Boeing Co. was awarded a $9.6 billion contract to supply fighter aircraft to the US Navy, the company's St. Louis-based defense division announced Monday. Under the agreement, the Navy will buy more than 200 F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters and pay for the design and development of EA-18G airborne electronic-attack aircraft over the next five years.

Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast will close its 85 retail stores by March to focus on game design, the nation's No. 2 toymaker announced. Wizards is based in Renton, Wash., and produces games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon trading cards. Hasbro is based in Pawtucket, R.I.

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