Business & Finance

Ventas Inc., a major owner of healthcare properties, said it will pay $1.2 billion for Provident Senior Living Trust and its 68 independent and assisted-living facilities in 19 states. Provident, a real estate investment trust based in Princeton, N.J., will become part of a new Ventas subsidiary. Ventas is based in Louisville, Ky.

Cessna Aircraft Co., the world's fourth-largest builder of business jets, said it plans to hire 500 sheet-metal workers to keep up with demand. The announcement marked the second time since last fall that the Wichita, Kan., company has expanded its workforce.

Toyota, which has taken the lead in marketing hybrid cars, said Tuesday it will build a research and development center near Ann Arbor, Mich., that is expected to hire 400 employees. Construction is scheduled to begin next spring.

Hope appeared to be dwindling for 6,100 employees of MG Rover as the company's bankruptcy administrator failed to establish contact with a Chinese automaker that until recently was interested in entering into a joint venture, the Financial Times reported. Despite that lack of success by PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Times (London) said British government officials plan to fly to China this weekend for yet another try at reopening negotiations with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. To improve the prospects for such talks, the government also offered MG Rover a $188 million "bridging loan" on top of the $12.4 million bailout awarded earlier to keep it afloat for one more week. Meanwhile, in a new sign of the company's dire circumstances, its administrator canceled all warranties on recently sold cars due to a lack of funds to reimburse dealers for fixing breakdowns.

Citing disappointing sales of its small cars and the rising cost of materials, Peugeot Citroën will eliminate one shift at its Coventry, England, assembly plant, The Times (London) reported. The move will result in the layoffs of 850 employees. The plant builds the Peugeot 206, which is scheduled to be withdrawn from production in 2010 anyway. A company spokesman told The Times it was "far too early" to discuss whether the Coventry plant would remain open after that.

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