Business & Finance

Citigroup agreed to pay the University of California and other investors $2 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit that grew out of its involvement with Enron Corp., the collapsed energy trader, reports said Friday. Citigroup said it was making one of the largest settlements in the corruption case to "eliminate uncertainties" and additional legal expenses, rather than as an acknowledgment of any wrongdoing. Litigants accuse Citigroup of helping Enron hide billions of dollars in debt.

The $19.4 billion takeover of banking giant HVB by UniCredito SpA - the largest cross-border merger in the history of European financial institutions - will result in 10,000 layoffs, a leading Italian newspaper reported. Without revealing its sources, Il Giornale said most of the cuts will come in Germany (HVB's headquarters), Poland, and Croatia.

Details are expected to be announced Monday of a $7.9 billion offer by Germany's Spohn Cement GmbH to buy rival HeidelbergCement. The latter is the nation's largest maker and seller of cement and expects to return to profitability this year after losing money in recent quarters due to weak demand and cold weather that has delayed construction projects across much of Europe.

Angry creditors were informed that Rover, the collapsed British automaker, will be unable to pay them more than a penny or two per dollar owed - if that. Auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was appointed Rover's administrator in April, told hundreds of parts suppliers, former dealerships, and others Friday that the company has "considerably less" than $153 million in remaining assets with which to address claims of more than $2.5 billion.

Bankrupt Interstate Bakeries Corp. said it will close two more plants that employ a combined 650 workers. Both are in San Francisco. The troubled company previously has closed or announced plans to shut bakeries in New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. Among other products, Interstate makes Wonder Bread and Twinkies.

Russell Stover Candies, the third-largest American maker of boxed chocolates, will close its 800-worker Cookeville, Tenn., plant by late summer, it announced late last week. The company is based in Kansas City, Mo.

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