Business & Finance

Boeing, as expected, won a $4 billion contract from discount carrier AirTran Airways for as many as 100 new 737 jets. The deal is the second big order for Boeing this week, after a recent string of losses to its European rival, Airbus. All Nippon Airways of Japan finalized details Monday on a plan to acquire 45 next-generation Boeing 737s while phasing out its Airbus fleet.

An initial public offering aimed at raising $1.4 billion was announced by Yell Group PLC, the publisher of Britain's Yellow Pages, and analysts said executing it successfully would be vital to the company's future. Yell said it will use the proceeds from the sale, which is scheduled for July 10, to help pay down debt. A year ago this month, Yell canceled plans for an IPO with a target of $3.8 billion, citing poor market conditions. "They can't afford to fail this time," quoted one analyst as saying.

Another $83.8 million in "intentional irregularities" was disclosed by Royal Ahold NV, the troubled international supermarket giant. The Dutch company blamed "improper purchase accounting," but did not identify which of its areas of operation was responsible. Ahold made headlines in February by admitting that at least $500 million in earnings had been overstated for 2001 and 2002. Later, it raised that amount to $880 million, then raised it again by $29 million in late May. At least 12 senior executives have left the company since the first disclosures. Strengthened internal controls are expected to be in place by year's end, a statement said.

By an 87 percent to 13 percent margin, unionized pilots of Air Canada accepted a new six-year contract full of concessions designed to save the bankrupt carrier almost $200 million annually. Analysts had expected the vote to be close. The pact calls for salary cuts, layoffs, changes in work rules, and other givebacks. The pilots were the last of the airline's unions to OK the concessions it is seeking to restructure its operations.

Top-Flite Golf Co., the world's largest maker of golf balls, filed for bankruptcy Monday. The company, based in Chicopee, Mass., said it planned to sell its assets to clubmaker Callaway Golf of Carlsbad, Calif., for $125 million.

Also filing for Chapter 11 protection was Crown Pacific Partners. But the Portland, Ore., company, a leading supplier of lumber to the building industry, has no plans to lay off workers, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

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