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Efforts to convert the giant Airbus consortium into a private company to better challenge Boeing of the US aren't going well, one of the partners confirmed. Airbus is made up of British Aerospace, France's Aerospatiale Matra, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace of Germany, and Construcciones Aeronauticas of Spain, which was bought earlier this year by DaimlerChrysler. They are due to report back to their respective governments this week with a conversion plan. But Aerospatiale Matra's chairman said the current structure is unlikely to change because the smaller partners, Construcciones Aeronauticas and British Aerospace, want equal weight with the majority partners. Yves Michot said the sides have turned instead to discussions of various two-way mergers.

Phelps Dodge raised its hostile bids for copper-industry rivals Asarco Inc. and Cyprus Amax Minerals to $2.77 billion in cash and stock - from a previous all-stock offer of $2.66 billion. The move comes a week before Cyprus and Asarco shareholders are to vote on a planned $1.4 billion merger announced in July. Phelps Dodge is urging a rejection of the deal in favor of its offer, which was disclosed in August.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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