Tate & Lyle, Europe's largest cane-sugar refiner, paid $100 million to settle a lawsuit over sweeteners used by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in the biggest food antitrust class action in U.S. history. Tate & Lyle, based in London, was the last to settle a civil suit filed in 1995 by the Department of Justice on behalf of food companies, including Coke and Pepsi, alleging its A.E. Staley Manufacturing unit conspired to fix prices of high-fructose corn syrup, a sugar substitute. Archer Daniels Midland, the world's largest grain processor, and Cargill, the world's largest agricultural company, paid $424 million to settle the case.

Parmalat Avoids Fine in Settlement

Parmalat Finanziaria reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that the now-bankrupt Italian dairy company cheated U.S. investors when it sold them more than $1 billion in bonds. Parmalat and the SEC said in papers filed in federal court in Manhattan that the company won't pay a fine. Parmalat agreed to implement internal governance reforms and didn't admit or deny wrongdoing.

MORE NEWS

Sanofi-Synthelabo won U.S. antitrust clearance to complete its $60.9 billion acquisition of rival Aventis, which will create the world's third-largest drugmaker. The Federal Trade Commission said the two French companies had resolved concerns the combination might be anti-competitive. The accord already was backed by the European Union. Aventis plans to sell worldwide rights to its Campto colorectal cancer drug to Pfizer, which already markets the product in the United States, and the FTC agreement requires Sanofi to sell its Arixtra anti-blood-clot treatment to GlaxoSmithKline and rights to its Estorra insomnia drug to either Sepracor or another FTC-approved buyer.

FirstEnergy agreed to pay $89.9 million to settle shareholder lawsuits stemming from last summer's blackout, an extended failure at its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio and its earnings restatement. FirstEnergy said its insurers would pay $71.9 million of the settlement.

NASD announced that Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Miller Tabak Roberts Securities will pay $5 million each in fines and restitution to investors for allegedly overcharging for high-yield corporate bonds. The firms neither admitted to nor denied the allegations.

UAL director Randy Canale, who also leads a union that represents 27,000 workers at the company's United Airlines, said he is boycotting a UAL board meeting to protest the company's decision to halt pension contributions this year as part of an agreement to obtain interim financing during bankruptcy. Canale, president of International Association of Machinists District 141, said in a statement that the union is preparing legal action.

Mutual fund companies should stop paying increased brokerage commissions in return for investment research, a group of 250 independent fund directors recommended. The Mutual Fund Directors Forum, in a report issued at the behest of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the practice increases fund costs and creates conflicts of interest, and it called for independent directors to refuse to approve "soft-dollar" payments.

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta called an Aug. 4 meeting with airlines including American Airlines and United Airlines to discuss schedule reductions at Chicago's O'Hare airport to reduce delays there. A flight-cut target will be reached by Monday, Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey said.

Cisco Systems agreed to settle its lawsuit against Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, which claimed that Huawei copied Cisco code and documentation for its routers and switches without permission. Under the deal, Huawei will revise its command-line interface, user manuals, help screens and some source code.

Enron won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a $138.4 million expansion in New Mexico of the Transwestern pipeline, its largest natural-gas line. Enron, which plans to sell Transwestern later this year through a bankruptcy auction, said it expects to complete construction on the 72.6-mile project by June 2005.

Interstate Bakeries, the maker of Wonder Bread and Hostess Twinkies, said it is the subject of an informal Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry. The company said the review follows its announcement earlier this month that it had hired the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to investigate how the company set up reserves for worker-compensation insurance.

INTERNATIONAL

The International Monetary Fund has delayed approval of a $728 million loan payment to Argentina, forcing the country to draw on central bank reserves to pay back multinational lenders. Argentina is in default on almost $100 billion of debt. The $13.3 billion, three-year agreement with the IMF calls for the country's economic program to be reviewed quarterly before further funds are disbursed.

A Brazilian Central Bank official, monetary policy director Luiz Candiota, resigned amid allegations that he transferred money to a New York bank account without declaring the transactions to federal authorities. Federal prosecutors said they were not investigating Candiota but that bank president Henrique Meirelles is under investigation for possible tax evasion.

State-run China Netcom, the country's second-largest fixed-line telephone operator, has applied to list its shares in New York and Hong Kong in an initial public offering expected to raise $1.5 billion, state media reported.

Global air passenger traffic continued a steady recovery in the first half of this year, rising 20.3 percent over the same period in 2003 and growing in all regions, the International Air Transport Association said. Cargo traffic rose 13 percent during the first half of the year.

EARNINGS

Avon Products posted a 35 percent jump in second-quarter profit, to $232.3 million. Sales rose 13 percent, to $1.84 billion.

Anheuser-Busch said second-quarter earnings rose 6.5 percent as higher prices and demand for low-carbohydrate Michelob Ultra fueled its fastest sales increase in three years. Net income climbed to $673.5 million from $632.6 million a year earlier.

CSX reported that second-quarter profit fell 6 percent, to $119 million, as the railroad giant completed a restructuring of its management staff.

Dynegy, owner of power plants in 12 U.S. states, reported second-quarter profit of $10 million after a loss of $290 million in the same quarter a year earlier, as electricity prices rose and the company erased losses in energy trading.

Electronic Data Systems, fighting to regain traction in its turnaround bid, tripled its net income in the April-June period from a year ago, to $270 million, by selling a software business. Excluding one-time gains and losses, including the sale of its PLM software unit, EDS said it would have lost $16 million.

Hilton Hotels' second-quarter profit rose 39 percent, to $75 million, on revenue of $1.07 billion. In the same period last year, it earned $54 million on revenue of $976 million.

MetLife said second-quarter net income rose as sales of annuities increased and it sold Chicago's Sears Tower. Net income climbed to $842 million from $580 million a year ago.

Norfolk Southern said income rose 55 percent in the second quarter, to $213 million, as business volume increased and the company controlled expenses. Operating revenue was the highest in company history and was up 11 percent, to $1.8 billion.

Royal Caribbean Cruises' second-quarter profit more than doubled, to $122 million, from the same period a year ago, when the war in Iraq kept many people off ships.

Southern Co., the second-largest U.S. utility owner by market value, said second-quarter profit fell 19 percent, to $352 million, without a one-time gain that inflated year-earlier profit and mild weather that allowed the company to sell electricity in wholesale markets at higher prices.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.

Andrew Schindler, right, CEO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and general counsel Chuck Blixt go into a shareholder's meeting in Winston-Salem, N.C. Reynolds shareholders overwhelmingly approved a $4.2 billion merger with Brown & Williamson Tobacco, clearing the way for completion of the deal. About 99.7 percent of the shares represented at the meeting were voted in favor of the merger.