Nissan "is in bad shape" and has no choice but to close three assembly plants and cut 21,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its work force, the company's new chief operating officer said. Carlos Ghosn, who took the reins in July when Renault SA of France bought a 37 percent stake in Nissan, also said fewer models would be produced, the number of suppliers cut by half, and noncore assets, land, and securities sold. He set April 1, 2002, as the target date for completion of the restructuring plan. Japan's No. 2 automaker has lost money in six of the past seven years.
BellSouth Corp. stands in the way of the $7.9 billion partial sale of interest in Germany's third-largest mobile-phone network, two utility companies said. Veba and RWE said they'll transfer their combined 60 percent stake in E-Plus to France Telecom if BellSouth agrees to waive its right to veto the deal. BellSouth owns 22.5 percent of E-Plus. France Telecom wants to use E-Plus to expand into the lucrative German phone and Internet markets. Veba, which announced a $14 billion merger with electric-utility and chemical rival Viag last month, is believed to be unloading noncore assets.
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