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UPS to pay $6.8bn for Dutch peer TNT

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A UPS sign is pictured outside a company depot in north London, on June 17, 2011.  Britain has imposed restrictions on UPS air cargo passing through the country because the package delivery company has failed to comply with security regulations, the government said Friday. The Department of Transport said it was barring UPS from screening its cargo at some British facilities but the restrictions did not relate to a specific threat and the firm was not barred from moving its cargo through the country. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

A UPS sign is pictured outside a company depot in north London, on June 17, 2011. Britain has imposed restrictions on UPS air cargo passing through the country because the package delivery company has failed to comply with security regulations, the government said Friday. The Department of Transport said it was barring UPS from screening its cargo at some British facilities but the restrictions did not relate to a specific threat and the firm was not barred from moving its cargo through the country. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

CARL COURT

A UPS sign is pictured outside a company depot in north London, on June 17, 2011. Britain has imposed restrictions on UPS air cargo passing through the country because the package delivery company has failed to comply with security regulations, the government said Friday. The Department of Transport said it was barring UPS from screening its cargo at some British facilities but the restrictions did not relate to a specific threat and the firm was not barred from moving its cargo through the country. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED Parcel Service will pay $6.85bn (€5.2bn) for Dutch peer TNT Express in a deal that will boost the position of the world's largest package delivery company outside the United States.

UPS will become the market leader in Europe and also gain access to TNT's stronger networks in the fast-growing Asian and Latin American markets, increasing the US company's global sales to more than $60bn (€45bn) with 477,000 employees.

The deal will boost UPS's revenue outside the US to 36pc of total projected annual revenue of $60bn, up from 26pc today.

NY Mets' owners settle Madoff case

FRAUD CASE

THE New York Mets' owners will pay $162m to settle a $303m lawsuit by the liquidator of Bernard Madoff's firm, just before they were due to go to trial for allegedly ignoring the fraud.

Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and related defendants reached the settlement with the liquidator on Friday, US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said yesterday.

The judge ruled on March 5 that the Mets defendants must give up as much as $83m in so-called fictitious profits from Madoff's Ponzi scheme and face a jury trial over an additional $303m.

Oil prices climb on economic growth

CRUDE

OIL rose in New York on speculation that US economic growth will accelerate, bolstering fuel demand in the world's biggest crude-consuming country.

Futures gained as much as 1pc as confidence among US homebuilders held in March at the highest level since June 2007 and sales expectations climbed.

Bank of America raised 2012 price forecasts, projecting an economic recovery as geopolitical events constrain supplies.

Portugal next to falter -- PIMCO chief

EURO CRISIS

BOND fund giant PIMCO's chief executive said he expected Portugal to be the next eurozone country to falter, according to an interview in German weekly 'Der Spiegel'.

Asked whether he expected Portugal to have become the next Greece by the end of this year, Mohamed El-Erian told the magazine: "Yes, unfortunately that will be the case."

Portugal's economy is forecast to contract 3.3pc this year.

Irish Independent