Business & Finance

Delphi Corp., the nation's largest auto parts supplier, was refusing to comment on the likelihood that a filing for bankruptcy may come at any moment. But its share price was near its all-time low after a 10 percent plunge in Wednesday's trading. The Detroit News reported that Delphi executives have asked their staffs to avoid the word "bankruptcy," preferring that they use the "less negative-sounding terms 'Chapter 11' and 'restructuring' " in discussions of the company's future. Chairman Robert "Steve" Miller has threatened to file for protection from creditors by Oct. 17 if Delphi and the United Auto Workers Union can't agree on wage and benefits concessions and if his company cannot win new financial assistance from its former parent, General Motors.

Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest US warehouse club operator, announced plans to buy back $1 billion worth of its own shares. The decision coincided with a forecast-beating 20 percent jump in fourth-quarter profits. Costco, based in Issaquah, Wash., operates 461 stores.

Electronics giant Motorola Inc. said it will cut 1,900 jobs at 29 US and international locations "to improve operating efficiency." But a spokeswoman said Wednesday that efforts to consolidate supply-chain facilities will not result in downsizing the company because it simultaneously will add staff in such areas as engineering and marketing.

Lufthansa won concessions from the union representing its ground-crew employees to shrink their wage categories from 17 to 10 - a deal that will save money while protecting jobs. It will apply to 12,000 people who work for the carrier and seven subsidiaries. No one will be asked to take a pay cut, a spokesman said, but future raises will be based more on the "qualifications and professional development of the individual" than in the past. Lufthansa is aiming to save $1.45 billion in operating expenses by the end of its 2006 fiscal year because of soaring fuel costs and increasing competition from budget carriers.

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