Business & Finance

Yukos Oil Co., neck-deep in tax problems with the government of Russia, said it has enough cash left to continue in business only until the middle of next month and may have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. Accounts that yield $900 million a month in revenue have been frozen by authorities, who announced plans Tuesday to seize and sell Yukos's biggest production unit. The company failed to pay $3.4 billion in taxes for 2000 by its July 7 deadline. It also has been billed for unpaid taxes for 2001 and may owe for 2002 and 2003 as well, the authorities have said.

As expected, brewing giants Adolph Coors Co. and Molson Inc. agreed to a "merger of equals" that will make them the world's fifth-largest beermaker, with annual revenues of about $6 billion. The combined companies will be renamed Molson Coors Brewing Co. Molson chairman Eric Molson will retain that title with the fused enterprise, but his cousin and former deputy chaiman, Ian Molson, is considering whether to try to thwart the merger by bidding as much as $4 billion for the family business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Beleaguered Delta Air Lines learned Wednesday that the union representing its pilots is willing to accept a 23 percent cut in pay to help save the carrier. But Delta chief Gerald Grinstein said the concession, while twice as large as previously offered, still doesn't go far enough. He said Delta's "rapidly deteriorating financial situation," which has pushed it close to bankruptcy, means even deeper cuts may be required for the carrier's "long-term viability." Company executives said they want to study the union's latest proposal before negotiating further.

Seeking to become a world leader in making ingredients for bread-baking, Associated British Foods PLC (ABF) will pay $1.35 billion for the bakery and spices unit of Burns Philip & Co., reported. The latter, based in Sydney, Australia, owns the Fleischman's yeast brand. ABF markets flour, sugar, and other baking needs as well as Mazola cooking oil, Ovaltine, and Twinings tea. Its headquarters are in London.

Struggling Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will lay off 1,200 employees from its only assembly plant in the US, an announcement said Wednesday. The facility, in Normal, Ill., will adjust production in October from two shifts a day to one because of a 27 percent decline in sales in the US over the first six months of this year. Mitsubishi, which is roughly $9 billion in debt, expects to cut its worldwide payroll by 11,000 people between now and 2007, it said.

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