Business & Finance

A massive $27.1 billion loss for 2002, the largest in German corporate history, was posted by Deutsche Telekom. The company said the red ink was mostly due to write-downs for its acquisition of cellphone operator Voice Stream Wireless Corp. of Bellevue, Wash., (since renamed T-Mobile USA) and for the cost of third-generation mobile- phone licenses. Deutsche Telekom also is $67 billion in debt, although it said that figure dropped over the past five months from a high of $71 billion. It was the second European communications giant to post a record loss in two weeks, following France Telecom's $22.5 billion.

United Airlines workers lost their majority vote and other powers on the board of the carrier's parent company, UAL Corp., Friday. The trustee of their stock-ownership plan sold more shares, dropping labor's stake in the bankrupt carrier to below 20 percent, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said the sale was made to salvage at least some value for the workers in case the stock was wiped out in a company reorganization program. The shift comes as unions and management hold thorny negotiations on $2.5 billion in wage give-backs and other concessions.

General Electric apparently ignored calls for greater transparency in its latest annual report, the financial news service reported. GE cited an $806 million pretax gain for its pension plan, Bloomberg said, while disclosing in a later footnote that the plan, in fact, had lost $5.2 billion. US accounting rules allow the listing of estimated, rather than actual, returns on pension-fund investments. However, Securities and Exchange Commission officials have urged companies to clearly disclose actual results. A GE spokesman defended the listing as appropriate.

Another 1,700 jobs will be cut by EADS, the world's second-largest aerospace contractor said. The company, formally known as European Aeronautic, Defense, and Space, also said it is cutting its dividend to stockholders by 40 percent as it prepares for a prolonged recession in the civil aircraft business. EADS lost $326 million last year after posting a $1.5 billion profit in 2001. The new layoffs come on top of 1,600 last year.

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