Business & Finance

Toronto-Dominion Bank confirmed reports that it will make its first entry into the US market by buying a 51 percent share of Banknorth Group Inc. for $3.8 billion. Banknorth, based in Portland, Maine, has about $29 billion in assets and more than 300 branches, primarily in New England and New York. Toronto-Dominion is Canada's second largest bank by assets ($239 billion) and has 1,000 branches.

Ingersoll-Rand Co., a leading maker of air compressors and other construction machinery and refrigeration systems for trucks and supermarkets, agreed to sell its Dresser-Rand unit to First Reserve Corp. for $1.2 billion, reported. Dresser-Rand builds steam and gas turbines. Although the subsidiary is profitable, an Ingersoll-Rand spokesman said it doesn't fit with the company's long-term strategy to focus on less-cyclical businesses. First Reserve, based in Greenwich, Conn., is the largest private buyout firm specializing in the energy industry. Ingersoll-Rand's headquarters are in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Northwest Airlines and the world's largest computerized travel reservations system sued each other in federal court over the carrier's decision earlier this week to charge fees when passengers and travel agents don't buy seats via its website. The carrier said bookings made through travel agencies cost it $70 million a year, or $12.50 per ticket, compared with $5 for tickets purchased on the website. Sabre Holdings Corp. of Southlake, Texas, which operates the online Travelocity reservations service, claimed in its suit that the new fees violate terms of their deal to sell tickets at the same prices as those offered on Northwest's website. The airline countersued, alleging contract- breaking retaliation and arguing that the fees - $5 to $10 per ticket on domestic flights - are not a fare increase. The fees have not yet been adopted by competitors. Meanwhile, Northwest and six other US carriers - Alaska, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways, and one not yet identified - have signed up for a new low-cost electronic ticket distribution network called Trueconnect, USA Today reported. The newspaper said the plan is another effort to bypass the expense of traditional reservation services, although it was not immediately clear when Trueconnect would begin operating or whether it would have a website.

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