Business & Finance

Ford Motor Co. posted a $284 million loss for the third quarter of its fiscal year, led by its North American division, where the red ink deepened over the same period a year ago. In 2004, the North American operations lost $481 million; this year's pretax figure was $1.2 billion. Its finance arm, Ford Motor Credit, offset some of the losses, posting a $577 million profit. On Monday, rival General Motors reported a $1.6 billion third-quarter loss. At the time, it also announced a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers Union to reduce healthcare benefit liabilities for employees and retirees by billions of dollars a year. Ford is seeking a matching agreement with the union.

In the world's largest initial public offering in four years, China Construction Bank (CCB) sold $8 billion worth of shares, which analysts said reflects investor confidence in the mushrooming Chinese economy. CCB, the third-largest of China's state-owned banks, will be traded publicly on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange beginning next Thursday. Its IPO was the biggest since Kraft Foods of the US sold $8.7 billion in shares in June 2001.

In a deal valued at $2.2 billion, Paladin Resources PLC agreed to be acquired by Talisman Energy Inc., a specialist in reviving production from aging oil fields. While based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Paladin has assets as far away as Australia. Its main focus, however, has been the North Sea, where Talisman is the second-largest operator of wells. Talisman is based in Calgary, Alberta.

Dana Corp., another struggling auto parts supplier, announced a series of austerity moves, among them putting its pump, fluid, and engine hard components businesses up for sale. The Toledo, Ohio, company also said it will close two plants in Virginia, shift some steering-column operations to Mexico, cut 5 percent of its salaried staff by the end of next year, and reduce medical and stock benefits for employees. Industry giant Delphi Corp. filed for bankruptcy last weekend. Ford recently took back 23 assembly plants from Visteon Corp., the parts supplier it spun off five years ago.

Citing a continuing drop in Internet dial-up subscribers, America Online announced it will lay off 700 employees and close its Orlando, Fla., service center. The cutbacks also will affect facilities in Jacksonville, Fla., Tucson, Ariz., and at the company's headquarters in Dulles, Va.

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