Business & Finance

Arthur Andersen LLP announced that its insurance carrier, Professional Services Insurance Co., will not pay a $217 million settlement of a lawsuit, the second-largest in history by one of the accounting industry's so-called "Big Five" firms. A trust for the bankrupt Baptist Foundation of America alleged that Andersen failed to disclose financial irregularities it knew had been committed by the fund-raising group's ex-managers. Andersen did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which the parties agreed to last month.

Coca-Cola plans to introduce a vanilla-flavored version of the world's most popular carbonated soft drink, the Financial Times and industry newsletter Beverage Digest reported. They said the company is likely to unveil the new product in the next few months in a bid to revitalize lagging growth. Coca-Cola would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

NTL Inc. is expected to default on $96 million in interest payments this week and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing could follow, the Financial Times reported. But it said the US-British cable TV giant, which is $17 billion in debt, would seek protection from creditors only if it first had a deal to trade some of its liability for equity. NTL has almost 9 million subscribers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. Its headquarters are in New York.

Toray Industries, the world leader in producing polyester and other synthetic fabrics for the apparel industry, will cut 2,000 jobs over the next two years, a spokesman said. The company is based in Tokyo.

CORRECTION. An item in this space March 28 should have said: A civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission accuses six former executives of Waste Management Inc. of inflating earnings by $1.7 billion from 1992 to 1997 in a "massive earnings management fraud." The SEC filing also said accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP inaccurately reported Waste Management finances. The latter's founder has denied both allegations.

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