Business & Finance

Wal-Mart Stores, the world's No. 1 retailer, plans to open 50 new discount stores and up to 185 new super centers next year. The Bentonville, Ark., company also said it will open about 50 Sam's Club warehouse shopping stores in the US, 15 to 20 Neighborhood Market stores, and up to 130 international units in countries where it already operates. The plan represents a 9 percent increase in capacity.

Deeply troubled Swissair Group narrowly avoided collapse as two of Switzerland's major banks extended $866 million in emergency funding. But the carrier was forced to ground its entire fleet when suppliers refused to provide fuel, foreign airports insisted on prompt payment of landing fees, and creditors seized some planes. Swissair also acknowledged being unable to provide a scheduled $118 million payment to Belgium's Sabena, in which it holds a 49 percent stake. Meanwhile, a regional Swissair subsidiary, Crossair, took over the company's profitable routes, becoming - in effect - the national carrier.

Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant, issued a long-anticipated announcement that it will buy the CropScience unit of rival Aventis SA for $2.75 billion. But the deal is expected to result in the layoffs of 4,000 workers whose responsibilities overlap. Bayer also said it will cut another 1,250 jobs on top of the 1,800 announced in August when it withdrew an anticholesterol drug from the market.

In other layoff news:

• Raytheon Co. will cut another 750 jobs from its aircraft unit, bringing its total layoffs for that division to 1,700, the Boston Herald reported.

• Interface Inc., one of the world's largest corporate carpet makers, said it will lay off 850 workers. Atlanta-based Interface sells its products in more than 100 countries.

• IKON Office Solutions plans to cut 2,600 jobs as it closes or reduces some units and trims other expenses. The Valley Forge, Pa.-based company said it will drop telephone operations in both the US and Europe.

• Computer chipmaker Cirrus Logic said it will cut 300 jobs, or 30 percent of its workforce. The Austin-based company plans to shift its focus to digital entertainment.

• WorldCom, the telecommunications provider, plans to lay off 1,000 workers from its international data unit. The new cuts follow a February reduction of 6,000 US jobs.

• The Wyndham hotel chain announced 1,600 layoffs and said a substantial number of employees are working reduced hours.

• Unaxis, a Zurich, Switzerland-based conglomerate specializing in information technology and high-tech industrial coatings and instrumentation systems, said it will cut 600 jobs.

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