Business & Finance

In a major merger of oil refiners, Valero Energy Corp. of San Antonio, Texas, announced plans to buy Premcor Inc. for between $6.9 billion and $8 billion. The deal, which adds Premcor refineries in Texas, Tennessee, Delaware, and Ohio to Valero's holdings, makes the latter the largest refiner of crude oil in North America, vaulting it ahead of Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips in terms of capacity. Because Premcor is a wholesale supplier, no gas stations are involved in the deal. Premcor is based in Old Greenwich, Conn.

Air Canada, rebounding from bankruptcy, has ordered 32 new passenger jets from Boeing Co., a deal worth $5 billion at current list prices, published reports said. The carrier's parent company, ACE Aviation Holdings, said it also has taken options to buy 64 more planes. All are either 777s or Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, for which orders have been slow in arriving.

DoubleClick, an advertising data and technology company that places online ads for other businesses, agreed to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private equity firm, for $1.1 billion. Although Hellman & Friedman, which is based in San Francisco, is the lead investor, San Diego venture capital firm JMI Equity also has a stake in the deal. DoubleClick is based in New York.

With major expansion plans on the drawing board, HSBC Holdings PLC said it will double its payroll in China this year to 2,000 employees. The bank is based in London and is Europe's largest by market value, but was founded in China 140 years ago. It has announced plans to expand to 20 cities there by 2007.

Months after cutting 1,660 jobs from its payroll, the Royal Bank of Canada announced its intention to hire 700 more people, especially for its residential mortgage and small business operations. The bank is Canada's largest in terms of assets and posted a 31 percent increase in profit in the year's first quarter.

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