Business & Finance

Delta Air Lines stock was at its lowest level in 43 years as trading opened Tuesday, but the chief of its pilots' union said he hadn't yet been approached about new give-backs that might help stave off a bankruptcy filing. Delta shares traded as low as $1.30 on the New York Stock Exchange Monday before closing at $1.41. The carrier has warned that it may not be able to avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and it is in something of a race against time. A new federal law that takes effect Oct. 17 makes it more difficult than before for a company to cancel debt under Chapter 11.

Its financial health stable again, the largest bank in Japan announced that by month's end it will begin repaying $6.3 billion in bailout funds received from taxpayers in the late 1990s. Mizuho Financial Group said its buy-back of preferred shares from the Deposit Insurance Corp. would give the government a 12 percent profit on that aid. Mizuho will still owe the state $7.75 billion but said the remaining repayment should be completed by March 2007.

General Electric and Rolls-Royce won a $2.4 billion contract to develop and test engines jointly for the Pentagon's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. The deal comes on top of a similar contract awarded in 2001 to United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney division. The plane, which will be used by US forces as well as by allied powers, is projected for its first test flight in 2010. Plans call for each user to be given a choice of engines when ordering the planes.

Maytag Corp. made it official, signing an agreement with rival Whirlpool to be acquired for $1.7 billion. Their merger - assuming it is OK'd by shareholders and anti-trust regulators - would give the combined company 48 percent of the nation's major-appliance market and 70 percent of washer-dryer sales. Maytag said it has paid its other suitor, the private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, a $40 million fee for breaking their merger agreement.

Volvo Car Corp. announced plans to lay off as many as 1,500 employees "to meet our budget goals and increase profitability." The automaker, a subsidiary of Ford, said it expects the job cuts to be confined to its operations in Sweden.

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