Business & Finance

WorldCom warned of a possible $50 billion write-down as its assets continued to lose value and asked a bankruptcy court to postpone its deadline for filing a reorganization plan until next April. Regional Bell companies, meanwhile, were lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to revoke WorldCom's licenses, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said they were worried that WorldCom could emerge from bankruptcy free of $42 billion in debt.

Bankrupt US Airways Group has cut $1.3 billion in yearly costs, but needs to save $1.6 billion to be profitable, it told creditors. Most of the savings have come from renegotiated labor contracts, and the carrier said it hopes to achieve the rest through more favorable aircraft leases. But a spokesman wouldn't rule out a trim of its 279-jet fleet, which would mean more furloughs. US Airways has cut more than 10,000 jobs in the past year.

The anticipated sell-off of media giant Vivendi Universal's publishing operations began with the announcement that French conglomerate Lagardère SCA will acquire its European and South American assets. The price: about $1.2 billion. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. Deeply indebted Vivendi's US publishing house, Houghton Mifflin, will be sold separately, the company said.

Duke Energy Corp. agreed to a $25 million penalty under a proposed settlement with regulators in North and South Carolina after an audit determined its Duke Power unit underreported earnings by $123 million between 1998 and 2000. Duke Power is the largest public utility in the two states, which, by law, can lower customer rates if utility profits rise above a set level.

Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat processor, announced it will follow the example of retail titan Wal-Mart and make up the difference between military pay and the wages of employees summoned to active duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Tyson, of Springdale, Ark., has 124,000 employees. Wal-Mart, also based in Arkansas, has 1.3 million employees.

The world's largest maker of printing systems and presses, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, said it will cut 2,200 jobs, blaming the prolonged downturn in advertising. The company, a rival of Xerox and Eastman Kodak Co. of the US, is based in Heidelberg, Germany.

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