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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Europe investigates GE-Honeywell deal

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The European Commission has decided to launch an in-depth probe of General Electric's proposed $40.5 billion buyout of Honeywell International, pushing back a decision on whether to clear the deal by up to four months.

While disappointed by the delay, Fairfield-based GE said it remained confident its acquisition of Honeywell would eventually be approved. "We continue to believe that our businesses are complementary with no meaningful overlaps," GE said in a statement late yesterday. "However, the commission has expressed concerns about the broad range of aviation product offerings." GE Chairman Jack Welch, had originally expected the deal to meet all regulatory obligations and to be completed by April at the latest. It seems that timetable is now unrealistic.

Insurance industry sees more firms fail

NEW YORK -- The number of U.S. insurance company failures rose to 56 last year from 40 in 1999 and could rise further this year, Standard & Poor's Corp. said in a new report.

The debt rating agency said of the 56 failures, five were life insurers, 31 were property-casualty insurers, 17 were health insurers and three were title insurers.

Several of the highest profile failures occurred in California, where price-cutting pushed insurance rates to unprofitable levels, leading to rising losses among insurers.

Failures in California included Fremont Casualty Insurance Co. and California Compensation Insurance Co.

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