Business & Finance

Bell South Corp. will receive stock worth $1.06 billion from KPN Telecom of the Netherlands in exchange for its 22.5 percent stake in E-Plus, a mobile phone operator they co-own in Germany, reports said. The deal gives the Atlanta-based company 9.4 percent ownership of KPN, although a provision allows that to be sold at any time. E-Plus is a distant third in Germany's cellphone market, behind Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom.

In the second major energy-industry deal in less than a week, Petro-Canada Inc. said it will pay $2 billion for the production business of Germany's Veba Oel AG. The acquisition gives Petro-Canada, the country's fourth-largest producer and marketer of oil and gasoline, access to Veba's assets in 13 countries, mostly bordering the North Sea and in Latin America. On Monday, Petro-Canada's Calgary, Alberta, rivals, PanCanadian Energy Corp. and Alberta Energy Co., announced a $13 billion merger. Veba also owns Germany's largest chain of gas stations, in which it is planning to sell majority interest to British Petroleum for $1.6 billion.

Black & Decker Corp., a world leader in the manufacture of power tools, construction accessories, and electric lawn and garden equipment, said it will close three plants in "high cost" areas of the US and Britain, resulting in the layoff of 2,400 workers. Much of the production will be shifted to facilities in Mexico, China, and the Czech Republic. The company markets products under its own label as well as DeWalt, Price Pfister, Kwikset, Dustbuster, and SnakeLight. Black & Decker's headquarters are in Towson, Md.

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