News In Brief

General Dynamics plans to acquire rival Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. for $2.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal would give General Dynamics control over the manufacture and maintenance of all the nuclear-powered US military vessels and a strong position building destroyers, auxiliary ships, and commercial oil tankers. Both companies are based in Virginia.

Despite its failure to negotiate two earlier megamergers, the Bank of Scotland announced it is discussing a $37 billion deal with Halifax PLC, Britain's No. 1 mortgage lender. Analysts said the move is an attempt by Bank of Scotland to stave off a takeover since merger negotiations with Abbey National collapsed in February. Last year, Bank of Scotland was unsuccessful in a $30 billion merger deal with National Westminster Bank.

In a new round of layoffs:

* Flextronics International, a leading contract maker of chips, said it has cut 10 percent of its work force, mostly in North America. The company did not disclose how many employees that would mean, but the Financial Times put the number at 7,000. Flextronics is based in Singapore.

* Phelps Dodge Corp., the world's No. 2 copper producer, is cutting 500 administrative jobs, but will not announce which of its locations is involved until next month, a spokeswoman said. The Phoenix-based company laid off 85 workers in March in suspending milling and some of its mining operations.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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