Business & Finance

Struggling General Motors expects to cut 25,000 jobs over the next three years as part of a plan to revive its North American operations, chief executive Rick Wagoner told shareholders Tuesday. Addressing the company's annual meeting in Wilmington, Del., he said the reductions will come via the probable closing of additional assembly and components plants and should result in a savings of $2.5 billion a year. The targeted plants were not identified. GM already has closed facilities in Linden, N.J., and in Baltimore this year. Wagoner blamed some of the company's problems on healthcare costs for employees that add $1,500 to the price of each vehicle it builds.

LG Philips LCD won a $5 billion contract, the largest in its history, to supply display panels to US computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard. The company is a joint venture between Dutch electronics giant Philips NV and LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea and has overtaken rival Samsung as the world leader in building liquid crystal displays, reports said.

Weatherford International Ltd., an equipment and services provider to the oil and gas industries, said Monday it will expand operations in the Middle East by acquiring Precision Drilling Corp.'s contract-drilling and services units. The deal was valued at $2.28 billion in cash and stock. Weatherford, based in Houston, has not been a land-drilling contractor, but the deal will add 48 land rigs considered helpful in offering "a full suite of products and services" to customers increasingly interested in one-stop shopping, analysts said. Precision is based in Calgary, Alberta.

Lowe's, the home-improvement retail chain, announced plans for a major expansion into Canada beginning in 2007, saying its research has shown that hundreds of thousands of Canadians cross into the US to shop in its stores. The Mooresville, N.C., company said it would open as many as 10 outlets in metropolitan Toronto at a cost of almost $1 billion and that it ultimately could build up to 100 stores nationwide.

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