Business & Finance

American Airlines employees eventually could own 20 percent of AMR Corp., the carrier's parent company, under a stock-option plan that is part of an agreed $1.8 billion in labor concessions from union leaders, reports said. Their members still must OK the deals, which include layoffs. American has said it will file for bankruptcy if they don't.

First Data Corp. agreed to buy Concord EFS Inc., a rival in the financial transfer business. The all-stock deal was valued at $7 billion. First Data, which owns Western Union, is based in Greenwood Village, Colo. Concord is based in Memphis, Tenn.

As a first step out of its deep financial woes, food-marketing giant Royal Ahold said it will put its operations in Latin America up for sale - a move that analysts projected would raise about $650 million. Royal Ahold, although based in the Netherlands, owns 429 supermarkets in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. It also has been discussing the sale of its assets in Chile in what would be a separate transaction. The company admitted Feb. 23 to overstating profits by at least $500 million over the past two years and it reportedly is $12.8 billion in debt.

Tyco International sued its ex-chief financial officer, Mark Swartz, again - this time for $400 million, claiming that among other transgressions he misused company funds to buy a penthouse in New York. Swartz, along with former chief executive Dennis Kozlowski, is awaiting trial on theft and fraud charges. His attorney called the new civil suit "a public relations stunt." Tyco first sued both men in December to try to recover $40 million in profits from alleged insider stock trades.

Struggling BWIA, one of the Caribbean's major airlines, was at work on a new business plan after conceding that it can't make severance payments to 617 workers laid off in January. It also said it had underestimated the impact of increased fuel costs due to the war in Iraq. The government of Trinidad owns one-third of BWIA but has refused additional help, beyond the $13 million it loaned last November, until the carrier offers proof that it can be profitable.

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