Salomon Smith Barney, the brokerage arm of Citigroup, said it would buy the investment-banking business of Schroders, one of Britain's biggest investment-banking firms. The $2.2 billion deal thrusts Salomon into the forefront of advising European corporations, as the number of transcontinental deals accelerates. And the deal doubles the size of Citigroup's relatively small United Kingdom investment banking operation.

El Paso Energy agreed to buy Coastal Corp. for $16 billion in stock and assumed debt, expanding a natural-gas pipeline network that already is the biggest in the United States. Adding Coastal's pipelines to its own will help El Paso's plan to expand in electricity sales by making it easier to build power plants near major markets, Ronald Kuehn Jr., El Paso chairman, said in a statement.

JDS Uniphase, the world's largest maker of fiber-optic equipment parts, agreed to buy E-Tek Dynamics for $15 billion in stock to alleviate shortages in capacity and make new products faster. San Jose-based E-Tek's main products are found in equipment that phone companies increasingly are using to boost the capacity of fiber-optic networks to handle the growth of Internet use.

Mariner Post-Acute Network, the nation's second-largest operator of nursing homes, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming federal cuts in Medicare reimbursement. The Atlanta-based company, which runs more than 400 nursing homes nationwide, said the 1997 Balanced Budget Act had cut its Medicare reimbursement by $115 per nursing-home resident. Two other large long-term care chains--Louisville-based Vencor and Albuquerque-based Sun Healthcare Group--have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past six months.

Coca-Cola said Jack Stahl will become the beverage giant's new president and chief operating officer. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said it intended to elect Stahl, who currently leads the soft-drink maker's operations in the Americas, to his new position as second-in-command at the company's April 19 board of directors meeting.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 5.350 percent, from 5.235 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 5.535 percent from 5.420 percent. The actual return to investors is 5.512 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,864.80, and 5.789 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,720.20. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 6.12 percent last week from 6.03 percent the previous week.


Furniture refinisher is being recalled because the product and its vapors can seep or leak from the nozzle base at the top of the can, posing a risk of fire and chemical injuries. Sherwin-Williams and Brockway Standard recalled about 3,000 quart cans of Formby's Conditioning Furniture Refinisher, sold individually and as part of Formby's Introduction to Refinishing Kit, after receiving one report of an employee suffering minor burns when vapors ignited, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The recalled products have the following lot codes written in black ink on the bottom of the can: A961600, A961610, A961620, A961630, A967270 and A969330. Cans with blue ink codes are not being recalled. The CPSC advises consumers to stop using the refinisher immediately and to place the product upright in a well-ventilated area away from any source of ignition.


Abbott Laboratories, maker of baby formula, drugs and hospital products, said its fourth-quarter earnings rose about 5 percent, to $664 million.

Broadcom, the largest maker of chips for modems that use cable-TV lines to access the Internet, said fourth-quarter income more than quadrupled, to $36.9 million. Broadcom also said it will split its stock 2 for 1 on Feb. 11 for shareholders of record as of Jan. 31.

Charles Schwab Corp. said its fourth-quarter profit rose 60 percent, to $170 million.

Citigroup said its profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 86 percent, to $2.61 billion from $1.4 billion, from the same period a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations, as the Salomon Smith Barney unit recovered from losses.

Paine Webber Group, the fourth-largest U.S. retail brokerage, said profit was little changed in the fourth quarter as a preferred-stock redemption offset rising commission income. Net income for common shareholders for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 6.2 percent to $101.5 million.

Tyco International posted first-quarter earnings of $784.3 million, compared with year-ago earnings of $509.3 million.

Unisys, a mainframe and computer-services company, said fourth-quarter profit rose 6.4 percent and sales fell almost 5 percent as customers delayed purchases because of year 2000 concerns. Profit rose to $144.4 million, while sales fell to $1.96 billion.

Xilinx, the No. 1 maker of programmable semiconductors, said fiscal third-quarter profit rose 90 percent, to $68.5 million. The company attributed the rise to increasing sales to Internet and telephone equipment makers.


Marriott International, the biggest U.S. hotel company, said one of its units will provide food service distribution to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in 25 states. The Bethesda-based company's Marriott Distribution Services unit provides food and related supplies to external customers as well as Marriott facilities.

PSINet, a Herndon-based Internet service provider for businesses, said it will split its stock two for one on Feb. 11 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 28.