Business & Finance

Scandal-ridden Enron Corp. won court approval late last week to emerge from bankruptcy under a plan in which creditors will be paid about $12 billion of the approximately $63 billion they are owed. Shareholders will get nothing, but employees who lost their savings when Enron's stock collapsed, are relying on lawsuits to get some payback. Settlement money is being raised from a series of asset sales. What is left of the company, which has gas pipelines and power plants around the world, will be called Primsa Energy.

In Germany, 14,500 DaimlerChrysler workers walked off their weekend shifts extending protests against the automaker's threats to eliminate jobs unless the workers accept labor cuts. The stoppages, at two Mercedes plants near the company's base at Stuttgart, halted production of at least 1,000 cars.

Japan Post, holder of a quarter of the nation's savings, will be privatized in 2007, forcing it to compete with other banks, insurers, and deposit takers. Currently, Japan Post does not pay taxes. Privatizing means the service will compete completely on its own, a spokesman told Bloomberg.com.

The Boeing Co. plans to recall about a thousand laid-off workers as it adds 2,000 to 3,000 workers to the company's Seattle/Puget Sound-area airplane plants by the end of the year, it said Friday. The hiring is needed to fulfill previously announced production increases. At the same time, Boeing agreed to pay roughly $40 million to $70 million to settle a class-action, gender-discrimination lawsuit filed in 2000.

Riggs Bank, a once-venerable Washington, D.C., institu-tion that has suffered from declining deposits, profits, and prestige, will be sold to Pittsburgh's PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for cash and stock worth more than $700 million, The Washington Post reported over the weekend. The sale occurs as bank regulators continue to investigate how Riggs officers and directors aided foreign dictators in secretly amassing personal fortunes.

Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and DII Industries, subsidiaries of oil-field-services giant Halliburton Co., had a $4.2 billion plan to settle asbestos-related health claims approved by a US bankruptcy judge in Pittsburgh late last week. The subsidiaries had filed for bankruptcy protection in December to deal with the claims of about 400,000 people who said they were injured by exposure to asbestos.

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