Business & Finance

The first meeting between oil giant Unocal Corp. and the Chinese company that is bidding to short-circuit its merger with Chevron was held in New York Monday as details emerged on how the attempt will be financed. Bloomberg.com reported that CNOOC, China's largest offshore oil producer, will borrow $7 billion of the $18.5 billion it has offered for Unocal from its state-owned parent, either interest-free or at rates below those that are available from banks. In April, Unocal agreed to be acquired by Chevron for $16.6 billion, but it has said it will "evaluate" the CNOOC proposal. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman acknowledged the sensitive nature of the CNOOC effort, which has aroused security concerns in Washington, but called it "a normal business activity [that] should not have interference from political issues."

Intel, the world's largest maker of chips, was sued by rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) on grounds that it has used "coercion" in its dealings with major customers. The suit, filed in a federal court in Delaware, seeks unspecified damages and an order that would force Intel to halt such alleged tactics as payoffs, bullying, and threats of retaliation against customers who buy AMD's chips or - in the case of retailers - stock their shelves with computers powered by AMD chips. Intel controls about 80 percent of the world microprocessor market. An Intel spokesman declined to comment, saying his company had yet to see "any formal wording" on the complaint.

In a deal valued at $1.36 billion, Royal KPN, the largest telecommunications service provider in the Netherlands, said it will acquire rival Telfort. While far smaller, Telfort's cellphone business has been growing almost four times faster than KPN's, reports said.

As many as 7,700 people will lose their jobs at auto parts manufacturer Lear Corp., its chief executive said Monday, as the company embarks on a restructuring of its operations. Bob Rossiter said the layoffs initially will affect five plants in North America and Europe but eventually will extend to 20. The Southfield, Mich., company is experiencing the same problems as rivals in its industry: a drop in production at automakers General Motors and Ford.

Norsk Hydro ASA, a world leader in the production of aluminum, said it will close its smelter in Stade, Germany, by the end of next year, resulting in the loss of 420 jobs. The Oslo company said the plant's small size and labor- intensive technology have made it unprofitable.

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