Business & Finance
US Airways and its unionized pilots agreed in principle to concessions on pay and benefits aimed at keeping the carrier from going bankrupt. A spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association said the givebacks amount to $465 million a year over the next 6-1/2 years. That is about 85 percent of what the airline is seeking in order to qualify for a federally guaranteed loan of $1 billion, although the two sides remain apart on the issues of job security and stock options. Members of the carrier's flight attendants' union are waiting to vote on $77 million worth of concessions already OK'd by their negotiators. Givebacks also are being sought from unions representing mechanics, reservations agents, and communications workers.
Honda Motor Co. scheduled news briefings in Tokyo and in Alabama, apparently to announce a major expansion of its US vehicle production capacity for light trucks and minivans. The company was not commenting on published reports that it would double production at its Talladega County plant east of Birmingham to 300,000 units a year and would hire 2,000 more workers.
Troubled multimedia powerhouse Vivendi Universal appears to have won just under $1 billion in new short-term credit and may announce up to $3 billion more within days, the Paris newspaper Le Figaro reported. The new funding sources give the company's management breathing space to consider how to proceed before being hit with another downgrade by investors' services. Last week, Moody's lowered its long-term debt rating to "junk" status and warned it will announce a further cut unless Vivendi made progress on resolving its financial problems soon.
"Last-ditch" efforts to rescue bankrupt engineering giant Babcock Borsig collapsed in Germany, with creditor banks refusing to join a restructuring plan proposed by the government. The 111-year-old company employs 22,000 people, and it was not immediately clear how many of their jobs would be at risk.