Business & Finance

UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, said it is on pace to emerge from almost three years of bankruptcy next February despite a record $1.77 billion third-quarter loss. It said the deficit stemmed from reworking leases and contracts and was not unusual near the end of a restructuring process. Bankruptcy experts said UAL is performing well financially despite 21 consecutive quarters in the red.

Barrick Gold Corp., bidding to become the world's leading producer of the precious metal, offered to buy rival Placer Dome Inc. for $9.2 billion. The latter said the bid was unsolicited, but a spokeswoman pointedly did not characterize it as hostile. Placer Dome is based in Vancouver, British Columbia; Barrick is in Toronto. If the companies merge, they'd be larger in both production and reserves than the industry leader, Newmont Gold Corp. of Denver.

Cebridge Connections Inc., the cable-TV company owned by industry pioneer Jerry Kent, is poised to buy systems serving about 900,000 subscribers in eight states from Cox Communications, The Wall Street Journal reported. It put the purchase price at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. Cebridge is based in St. Louis; Cox is in Atlanta.

In a deal valued at $1.3 billion, the third-largest bank in Germany won an auction for 18 government properties from the state of Hesse, which will be leased back. Among the facilities in the portfolio bought by CommerzLeasing and Immobilien AG are the state finance and interior ministries and police stations.

XL Capital Ltd., one of the first reinsurance companies to report the effect of hurricane Katrina on its bottom line, said it lost $1.05 billion in the third quarter. The Bermuda-based company may have to sell shares or other securities to generate new capital, MarketWatch reported.

Seven hundred jobs will be cut from the workforce of BAA PLC, the world's largest operator of airports, it announced. But it said they will not involve security personnel. All cuts will come at London's Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports and are part of a plan to save $80 million a year in operating costs. BAA also operates airports in the US, Italy, and Australia.

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