Business & Finance

Enron's assets may lose another $24 billion in value through write-offs and downward adjustments, the bankrupt energy trader's current managers said. In filings with regulators Monday, the company said it had scarce funds, no auditor, and faced an array of lawsuits and inquiries, but was disclosing what information it had to try to restore financial credibility while it seeks to reorganize.

Opening arguments began in Walter Hewlett's latest bid to block the planned $20 billion Hewlett-Packard/Compaq Computer merger. His lawsuit in a Wilmington, Del., chancery court seeks to nullify the reported results of a March 19 shareholder vote, claiming H-P executives made threats to at least one large investor to win approval. The final outcome of that vote is expected to be announced soon.

Barilla, the world's leading maker of pasta, said it will buy German retail baking giant Kamps AG for $1.6 billion, including the assumption of debt. Kamps, based in Düsseldorf, operates small "craft" bakeries across Germany and the Netherlands and sells through convenience stores and gas stations as well as groceries. Barilla, which markets its products in 100 countries, is based in Parma, Italy.

Williams Communications Group sought protection from creditors through Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. The Tulsa, Okla., company, mired in debt from the cost of building a 33,000-mile fiber-optic network, said it will continue operations while it implements a $6 billion restructuring plan. It already has cut 800 jobs, suspended quarterly stock dividends, and delayed payments on the interest on its debt. It followed the trail to bankruptcy court of such telecommunications rivals as Global Crossing, McLeodUSA, and Canada's 360networks Inc.

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