Business in brief

Continental close to deal with Boeing

Airbus Industrie is facing a further setback in the North American market following reports yesterday that Continental Airlines was negotiating to place all its future aircraft purchase contracts with Boeing. Such an agreement would follow similar exclusive purchasing deals signed by Boeing with big US carriers Delta and American. Gordon Bethune, the chief executive officer of Continental, was reported yesterday to have asked Boeing to make the airline an offer on the basis of an exclusive deal. Under it, Boeing would supply all Continental's fleet needs for decades.The carrier is seeking to replace its fleet of 27 DC-10 jetliners with new medium-capacity aircraft. A first order could amount to as many as 40 aircraft with a ticket value of some $4.1bn (pounds 2.5bn).

Maid to link up with Fujitsu

Maid, the online computer information group, announced a distribution agreement with Fujitsu, Japan's largest computer group. The deal covers the British group's Profound business information service, which provides stockbrokers' research, company reports and other corporate data by Internet or computer disk to clients. The service will be offered via Fujitsu's online NIFTY-Serve network and its InfoWeb Internet service provider operation, thus opening up a customer base exceeding 2.5 million in Japan. Profound was launched after Maid opened its first office in Japan in 1994.

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