Business & Finance

Support for the chairman of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., is thinning among its directors, The Dallas Morning News reported. Citing a source "familiar with the board's thinking," the newspaper said consideration was being given to replacing Donald Carty, who angered the carrier's unions by not informing them of a program to reward senior executives even as pilots, flight attendants, and ground-crew workers were agreeing to $1.8 billion in annual pay and benefits givebacks in order to stave off bankruptcy. Carty has apologized repeatedly for his actions. The Morning News said, however, that no formal motion to fire Carty was expected at the board's meeting Wednesday. Rank-and-file flight attendants and ground-crew workers have said they plan to vote again on the concessions. The pilots have not, although CBS Market Watch reported that their union was discussing another way of scuttling the deal: by authorizing its president not to sign the concession document.

In three years, once-struggling Nissan Motor Co. has cut its net debt from $17.5 billion to zero, the Financial Times reported. For the business year ending March 31, the Japanese automaker reported a record operating profit of $6.1 billion, and is predicting that will rise to $6.8 billion by this time next year. The company has been 44.4 percent owned - and its fortunes guided - by France's Renault SA since 1999.

A bankruptcy court approved Kmart's reorganization plan Tuesday, clearing the way for the discount retailer to emerge from bankruptcy by May 5. Chief executive Julian Day said he was "jubilant" at the confirmation, which followed four days of hearings on 188 objections lodged by creditors and others. He disputed analysts' suggestions that Kmart faces an uphill struggle in restoring profitability due to the strength of rivals Wal-Mart and Target, calling that view "ill-informed."

Bethlehem Steel will formally cease to exist as of April 30 under a deal OK'd by a bankruptcy court in New York Tuesday. The 99-year-old former industry powerhouse will sell its remaining assets to International Steel Group for $1.5 billion. Bethlehem employs about 11,000 workers at plants in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Maryland, and New York.

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said it will spin off subsidiary Medco Health Solutions to shareholders later this year, dropping previous plans for an initial public offering. Medco, based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., is the US's largest manager of pharmacy benefits, with $33 billion in sales in 2002. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J.

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