Markets & Finance

Merck to Cut 7,000 Jobs By 2008


Merck (MRK) announced a cost-cutting program, including 7,000 job cuts by the end of 2008. It expects pretax savings of $3.5 billion to $4 billion between 2006 and 2010. It sees $2.47 to $2.51 2005 earnings per share excluding charges and $2.28 to $2.36 2006 earnings per share including stock expensing.

BE Aerospace (BEAV) raised its 50 cents 2005 earnings per share guidance to $1.35 due to 1 times recognition of a domestic deferred tax asset. It raised its $1.10 2006 earnings per share guidance to $1.12. The company plans to make a public offering of 13 million shares.

Harvest Energy Trust (HTE) is in a merger of equals deal with Viking Energy Royalty Trust, in which four Viking units will be exchanged for one Harvest Energy Trust unit on a tax-deferred basis in Canada. The combined trust will retain the Harvest name.

American Pharmaceutical Partners (APPX) is to acquire the privately-held American BioScience (AB). American Pharmaceutical is to issue to American BioScience shareholders about 86 million American Pharmaceutical shares, raising American BioScience shareholders' fully diluted ownership of the new company to 83.5% from the 64.4% currently owned.

RenaissanceRe Holdings (RNR) plans to sell 3.96 million shares it holds in Platinum Underwriters Holdings (PTP).

First Data (FDC) Charles T. Forte, Chairman and CEO, advised the board he is retiring from First Data for personal reasons. Henry C. Duques will return as Chairman and CEO.

Technitrol (TNL) agreed to acquire ERA Group, the producer of electronic coils and transformers for the European automotive market, for €49 million, or about $57 million.

Giant Industries (GI) shares fell after reports said the company's Virginia refinery is completely shut and will be down for about a month following an explosion there early Friday morning.

Thor Industries (THO) posted 77 cents vs. 61 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 20% sales rise.

Extra Space Storage (EXR) plans to sell 10 million shares in an underwritten public offering.

Aluminum Corp Of China (ACH) ADRs rose after news of better-than-expected third quarter Gross Domestic Product in Hong Kong.

Digital River (DRIV) shares were seen lower after Microsoft (MSFT) announced a free offering that provides hosting companies with technical tools, as well as resources to help them deploy and manage Microsoft products, which could limit Digital River's benefit from a deal between it and Microsoft.


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