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News In Brief

Cereal giant Kellogg Co. completed its acquisition of cookie and cracker producer Keebler Foods in a $3.8 billion deal that was launched last Oct. 26. Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg said the acquisition will help it expand into the snack-food market. The combined company is expected to have annual worldwide sales of more than $9 billion on such brands as Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Pop Tarts, Cheez-It, Nutri-Grain, Eggo, and Famous Amos.

In another day of major corporate layoffs:

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* Saying, "we have to drive efficiency much harder," Ericsson, the world leader in mobile-phone networks, announced 3,300 more job cuts and said it will cease production at two assembly plants in Britain. In January, the Swedish company laid off 9,800 workers, although half of them were expected to be hired by Singapore-based Flextronics.

* Up to 400 employees will be cut by Nokia, Ericsson's Finnish neighbor and rival announced. The layoffs, in its broadband Internet division, follow the March 13 sale of two assembly plants in the US to SCI Systems, reducing the payroll by 1,250 jobs.

* Citing a net loss for the fiscal year of $133 million, VTech Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong announced 4,500 layoffs. VTech makes cordless telephones and electronic learning devices and has operations in the US and 13 other countries.

* Conexant Systems, a key supplier of chips for such communications leaders as Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies, said it will cut 1,500 jobs. Managers of the Newport Beach, Calif., company also will take a 10 percent pay cut. Rival PMC-Sierra Inc. of Burnaby, British Columbia, announced it is eliminating 230 jobs.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor