Business & Finance

Unions representing United Airlines pilots and flight attendants gave initial approval Saturday to pay cuts of 29 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The temporary salary cuts would take effect Jan. 1. The nation's second-largest carrier has given unions until Jan. 8 to agree to $2.4 billion in voluntary givebacks, and filed a motion in bankruptcy court Friday to void the contracts of any that fail to comply. So far, machinists are the main holdout. United, a unit of UAL Corp., is based in Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Lockheed Martin Corp. won a $3.5 billion contract to supply 48 F-16 fighter jets to Poland, beating out two European competitors. The deal, backed by a loan from the US government, is aimed at bringing Poland's air force up to NATO standards. Based in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is the world's top defense contractor.

Applied Biosystems Group will begin laying off 9 percent of its work force next month, eliminating about 400 regular and 100 contract jobs. In an announcement late Friday, the world's top maker of gene-sequencing machines, based in Foster City, Calif., said it made the decision because it expects many sources of research funding to be canceled or delayed next year, including anticipated federal government grants.

In a deal estimated at $1 billion, France's state-owned natural gas company Gaz de France will acquire the German gas production and distribution assets of Preussag Energie. In terms of the deal, the French firm will get Preussag's oil and gas deposits near Becken in Germany, which hold some 875 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 4 million barrels of oil. The acquisition now hinges on the approvals of Preussag's board of directors and of antimonopoly regulators.

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