Business & Finance

Deeply troubled Mitsubishi Motors has used up the $4 billion it raised earlier this year by selling shares to investors and sister companies in the Mitsubishi group and needs $1 billion more, the Financial Times reported, citing bankers close to the matter. The revelation came on top of last week's $2 billion sale of the Japanese auto-maker's North American car loan portfolio to Merrill Lynch & Co. Mitsubishi Motors said when it raised the $4 billion that it expected to use the funds for expansion in China and to develop new models. But they went instead for unrelated purposes, such as paying down debt, the Financial Times said.

Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellphones, sought to reassure investors and customers that the unexpected resignations of two more senior executives are not a cause for concern. The Financial Times quoted chief Jorma Ollila as saying that "a new generation is ready to take over" and that Nokia expects no further departures. Last Friday, the head of its network division and a top deputy announced they were leaving for personal reasons. Late last month, Nokia's chief strategist left to take over a company that makes elevators and escalators.

Partial service was restored to an Intelsat communications satellite, the operation of which could affect the $3.1 billion purchase of the company by Zeus Holdings Ltd. Intelsat said Friday that it anticipates full repair of the Americas-7, one of 28 satellites in its network. Americas-7 encountered electrical problems Nov. 28 and appeared in jeopardy of being lost. Under terms of the deal, Zeus reserves the right to cancel its acquisition if there is inoperable equipment. Both companies both are based in Bermuda.

As air travel subsides in January, United Airlines will lay off or furlough 825 customer-service employees, ramp workers, and other staffers at 18 US airports, it announced Friday. The cuts are part of the carrier's plan to avoid bankruptcy. Some full-time employees may be moved to part time status as the company adjusts staffing needs to travel demand, a spokesman said.

Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment, announced plans late last week to revamp an aging factory near Peoria, Ill. - a move that ultimately will result in shifting 500 jobs to Mexico. More than 700 people work at the plant. The plan calls for outsourcing the manufacture of smaller parts but would not be implemented until at least 2007 and would be accomplished through attrition and transfers rather than layoffs.

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