In other items: Starbucks said July sales at its coffee shops open more than a year rose 7 percent; Verizon Wireless ranked highest in call quality in the Western U.S. in a study released yesterday; and MWI Veterinary Supply of Meridian, Idaho, rose by 25 percent yesterday in its first day as a Nasdaq-traded stock.

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Finmeccanica, the parent company of Italian aerospace manufacturer Alenia Aeronautica, announced yesterday that it has signed a contract with Boeing defining its role as a major supplier on the 787 program.

In Foggia and Grottaglie in southern Italy, Alenia will build the horizontal stabilizer and two large central fuselage sections for the new jet.

Boeing will fly the horizontal stabilizer to Everett and the fuselage sections to Charleston, S.C., for the next stages of assembly.

Finmeccanica said the contract covers an initial order of major assemblies for 150 aircraft and is valued at approximately $1.1 billion — $7.3 million per airplane.

Alenia plans to invest more than

500 million ($610 million) in the 787 program over the next three years.

Starbucks

July sales lifted by chilled drinks

Starbucks said July sales at its coffee shops open more than a year rose 7 percent, as the warmest weather in 69 years lifted sales of new chilled tea drinks.

Sales were in line with the 7.1 percent average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. The results were released after the close of regular stock trading. In after-hours trading, Starbucks stock rose 10 cents to $52.

Total sales increased 21 percent to $495 million in the four weeks ended July 31, Seattle-based Starbucks said yesterday.

The coffee chain, which had 9,836 stores, said the addition of two flavored Tazo iced-tea drinks on July 13 boosted sales. A hotter-than-normal July prompted higher sales of iced tea and chilled coffee drinks last month, UBS Investment Research analyst David Palmer said. Last month was the warmest July since 1936, according to Planalytics.

Verizon Wireless

Call quality ranks No. 1 in user survey

Verizon Wireless ranked highest in call quality in the Western U.S., including Washington state, with fewer problems with voice distortion and dropped calls, according to the J.D. Power & Associates 2005 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study released yesterday.

The study surveyed 22,730 wireless users.

Among the wireless carriers in the study, Verizon Wireless ranked highest in five of the six U.S. regions. T-Mobile USA tied with Verizon in the Northeast and Southeast. Nextel Communications ranked highest in the Southwest.

MWI Veterinary Supply

Pet-products firm fares well in IPO

MWI Veterinary Supply of Meridian, Idaho, rose by 25 percent yesterday in its first day as a Nasdaq-traded stock, closing at $21.25, up $4.25.

The Northwest’s newest public company sold 4.3. million shares at $17 a share, above its previously estimated range.

MWI, which distributes drugs, pet foods and other products to veterinarians nationwide, raised $73.7. million in the offering.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News