Business & Finance

United Airlines announced that it will impose an additional $725 million in labor and pension-plan cuts as part of a $2 billion reduction in operating costs the parent company, UAL Corp., asked a bankruptcy court to approve Friday. The union for the carrier's flight attendants promised to fight the cuts. In other industry news:

• Delta Air Lines Inc., which earlier announced it would cut about 6.800 jobs, released new details Friday, indicating that 2,000 maintenance, 3,000 customer-service, and 1,800 management jobs will be eliminated.

• Northwest Airlines said its pilots overwhelmingly approved a new two-year contract Friday that calls for $265 million in concessions, including 15 percent in pay cuts.

SBC Communications Inc. announced plans Friday to cut 10,000 jobs - 6 percent of its workforce - by the end of next year. The cuts will take place "across geographies and across business units," said company spokesman Larry Solomon. SBC, which has more than 50 million phone lines in 13 states, has been losing business as customers switch to cellular or voice-over-Internet services.

Verizon Wireless, America's fastest growing cellphone company, will increase its cellular capacity through the $3 billion purchase of 23 markets from bankrupt NextWave Telecom, Inc. The deal relieves the Federal Communications Commission from the last of NextWave's debt and strengthens Verizon in the face of the recent merger between Cingular and AT&T Wireless, which usurped Verizon's status as the nation's biggest cellphone company.

Canadian brewer Molson Inc. and Adolph Coors Co. have agreed to pay Molson shareholders a special dividend of $316 million in an effort to garner needed support for a merger of the companies, they announced late last week. Molson investors have criticized the deal. Each company is valued at $3 billion. Combined, they would become the third-largest beer company in North America. Molson is based in Montreal, Coors in Golden, Colo.

Brazilian oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro announced Friday it will invest $1.1 billion in Venezuela from 2005 to 2009. The state-run company plans to drill 415 new oil wells in 2005 and build two treatment plants in Venezuela, where it hopes to boost crude oil production from 76,000 barrels per day to 91,000, a company spokesman said.

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