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Reliant Resources said it will pay $2.9 billion to acquire Orion Power Holdings as part of its goal to expand in the independent power-production industry. The deal also calls for Reliant to assume $1.8 billion in debt. Reliant is based in Houston. Baltimore-based Orion's generation capacity is centered in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Exodus Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an attempt to eliminate massive debt acquired during an aggressive expansion during the dot-com boom. Exodus said it will continue to operate, but will close some units, halt construction on 10 new data centers, and try to persuade creditors to convert debt into equity. The Santa Clara, Calif., company provides secure environments for other clients' mission-critical computers and operates 44 Web-hosting centers.

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In new airline industry moves related to the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks:

• Lufthansa, the German national carrier, put just under 4,900 US employees of its LSG Sky Chef catering unit on unpaid leave, although they will continue to receive health-insurance coverage.

• US Airways said it will close three more of its seven reservations centers, resulting in 1,000 layoffs. The affected locations are Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Syracuse, N.Y. Earlier, the carrier announced the closure of its San Diego reservations facility.

• British Airways said it is cutting 190 flights a week, 36 of them to destinations in the US. The carrier earlier announced two waves of layoffs, involving 7,000 employees.


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