ECONOMY

European Bank Raises Rate

The European Central Bank raised its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2.25 percent. It was the first increase in five years.

The bank, which controls monetary policy for the 12-nation euro zone, signaled over the past two weeks that it would raise the rate.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

France Fines Phone Services

French antitrust authorities fined the country's mobile-phone operators a total of $628 million after a four-year investigation found that Orange, SFR and Bouygues illegally shared sales data and conspired to undermine competition.

The fine was the largest ever imposed by France's Competition Council.

BRITAIN

Pub Company to Buy Rival

Punch Taverns said it is buying rival Spirit Group for $4.7 billion, including $2.2 billion of debt, solidifying Punch's position as Britain's largest pub group.

The company will add the Spirit estate of about 1,800 pubs, bars and restaurants to its chain of more than 8,200.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said it lost $27 million in its fiscal year ended Oct. 31 because of a big charge to settle Enron-related litigation. The bank said in August that it would pay $214 million to Enron to settle a lawsuit filed by the energy trader against 10 banks, alleging that they "aided and abetted fraud." Earlier, CIBC agreed to pay $2 billion to settle a class-action case launched by Enron shareholders against the banks.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.