Business & Finance

UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, won its 10th and final deadline extension to file plans to emerge from bankruptcy. In Chicago, federal Judge Eugene Wedoff ruled that United has two more months - unless there are "unforeseeable circumstances" - to submit a reorganization plan, a goal the airline said it aims to achieve in early September. United, which declared bankruptcy in late 2002, secured commitments last week for up to $3 billion in debt financing that it believes will allow it to exit Chapter 11 sometime late this year or early next year.

At a court hearing today, accounting giant KPMG is expected to learn officially that it has avoided federal fraud charges by agreeing to pay $456 million, the online edition of The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend. It said the company will be charged with one count of conspiracy stemming from its promotion of offshore tax shelters, which cost the government billions of dollars a year in revenue, but will not be indicted for obstruction of justice. KPMG also has agreed to cooperate in an investigation of its activities and to restrict promotion of tax shelters, but it still faces numerous shelter-related civil suits.

Telemex, the largest fixed-line phone company in Latin America, said it will acquire Colombia Telecomunicaciones for $4 billion - most of that in assumed debt. The cash component is reported to be $350 million. Telemex, which previously bought the assets of AT&T in Colombia, said it will invite local phone service providers there to join its operations. The company has invested more than $4 billion over the past 2-1/2 years to build a telecommunications network stretching from Mexico to Argentina. It is based in Mexico City.

Whipsawed by slumping sales and the rising prices of steel and oil, the Australian subsidiary of General Motors announced it will cut 1,400 jobs and scale back production by 20 percent a day. GM Holden, the nation's oldest auto-maker, said the layoffs should be complete by the middle of next year.

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