News In Brief

Bausch & Lomb Inc., maker of contact lenses and other optical products, said it will eliminate about 450 jobs, 4 percent of its workforce, over the next several months. The move is part of a restructuring effort that began after the Rochester, N.Y.-based company issued warnings in August that future revenues were likely to be disappointing.

Job cuts also were announced by Hasbro Inc., the No. 2 US toy- and games-maker. Up to 550 positions, or 5 percent of the workforce, will be eliminated, resulting in a $70 million pretax charge. The Pawtucket, R.I.-based company cited, among other factors, softening demand for Pokmon and Star Wars toys.

The buyer in a $1.8 billion deal between two energy companies vowed to appeal after regulators in New Zealand said they'd veto the sale. The acquisition of Fletcher Challenge Energy by Shell Exploration Co., a subsidiary of the giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group, was halted by the nation's Commerce Commission because of concerns that it would make Shell dominant in current and future natural-gas production and in the market for liquefied gas. Fletcher Energy is a division of New Zealand's largest company, Fletcher Challenge Ltd., and has home-based operations as well as in Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brunei. The veto sent New Zealand's kiwi to an all-time low of $0.396 against the US dollar.

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