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Archive for Friday, April 16, 2004

Briefcase

April 16, 2004

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Airlines slowly improve

Southwest Airlines remained profitable while Continental Airlines posted a narrower loss in the first quarter, further signs Thursday of slow improvement in the aviation industry.

The nation's carriers, however, still face problems including high fuel prices and price wars before they can return to the steady profits that they earned through 2000.

Continental chief executive Gordon Bethune said the "outrageously high cost of fuel" remained an obstacle to profits, and he predicted that some carriers were likely to fail or be absorbed by others.

Boeing

Wichita wins 7E7 work

Boeing Co.'s plant in Wichita won additional work Thursday on the company's next generation commercial airliner, but not nearly as much as its employees had hoped.

Boeing said its Wichita plant would build the engine pylons for the 7E7 Dreamliner, in addition to the aircraft's forward fuselage and flight deck. That work was given to the plant last year.

Despite the good news, the Wichita plant lost Thursday its bid to build the plane's nacelles, or engine coverings, to Goodrich Corp.'s aerostructures business in Chula Vista, Calif.

Boeing officials said it wasn't yet known how many jobs the new work would mean to the plant.

Manufacturing

K.C. company rejects bid

Butler Manufacturing Co. said Thursday it wouldn't accept a Chicago-based corporation's unsolicited proposal to buy the company.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Butler said, in a news release, that after consulting financial advisers and outside legal council its board of directors believed the offer from Robertson-Ceco Corp. left many questions unanswered and was "too vague and uncertain."

Robertson-Ceco announced Wednesday that it had offered Butler $23 a share offer and also proposed refinancing Butler's debt. Butler has preliminary deal to sell to BlueScope Steel Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, for $22.50 a share and assumption of debt.

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