Airbus said it won 687 purchase agreements through Nov. 30, fewer than Boeing, making it likely the U.S. plane maker will come out ahead in 2005, a year that may be the best ever for the industry in new orders.

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Airbus said it won 687 purchase agreements through Nov. 30, fewer than Boeing, making it likely the U.S. plane maker will come out ahead in 2005, a year that may be the best ever for the industry in new orders.

Airbus’ figure, published on its Web site Wednesday, compares with 800 orders for Boeing in the same period. The tallies don’t include announced orders by China for 70 planes from Boeing and 150 from the European jet maker because the Chinese authorities haven’t signed firm purchase contracts.

Boeing and Airbus’ combined figure of 1,487 orders won through Nov. 30 brings them within reach of breaking the record 1,600 orders booked for large commercial planes in 1989.

Separately, Qantas Airways said today that its board would hold a special meeting Dec. 14, when it is expected to approve purchases of up to $15 billion of more fuel-efficient aircraft. The Australian airline had been expected to make a decision earlier. Dealers said the delay could mean intense competition between Boeing and Airbus to win the deal might result in better prices for Qantas.


Biotech prices stock offering

Dendreon set the price of its follow-on offering of 11.5 million shares at $4.50 Wednesday, about 22 percent below recent trading levels.

The Seattle biotech company expects to finish the sale by Monday, bringing in $51.75 million before expenses. Underwriters got options for 1.5 million shares.

Dendreon is planning to file for approval of prostate-cancer treatment Provenge in 2006. It had $121 million in cash and equivalents Sept. 30 and would use funds from the offering to support the Provenge program, its lead product.

Its stock closed down 17 cents, or about 3.2 percent, Wednesday to finish at $5.21.

PAR3 Communications

Seattle company acquires rival

Seattle-based PAR3 Communications, which helps companies communicate with customers, said it acquired competitor EnvoyWorldWide of Bedford, Mass., for an undisclosed amount.

After the deal, PAR3 has 200 employees and offices in Bedford and Seattle. Its customers include Bear Stearns, Nextel Partners, Progressive Insurance, Symantec and US Airways.

PAR3 helps companies communicate with customers by sending messages, typically by telephone, to let them know, for example, that a flight is delayed or their payment is late. EnvoyWorldWide specialized in sending notifications for emergency communications.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities created through this acquisition and will work with a combined leadership team to continue serving our existing and prospective clients,” said PAR3 President and Chief Executive Nicholas Tiliacos.


Nation and World

Adobe Systems

Company to pay for restructuring plan

Adobe Systems, which completed its acquisition of Macromedia last week, said it expects to pay out $20 million to $25 million in pretax expenses from a related restructuring plan.

The costs include up to $20 million in employee-severance payouts and $5 million in fees for consolidating offices, Adobe said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. The expenses will be taken over the 12 months ending Dec. 1, 2006.

Federal Reserve

Consumer loans plunge $7.2 billion

Consumer borrowing plunged at a record annual rate of $7.2 billion in October, reflecting a big drop in auto loans.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the decline was the biggest amount ever in dollar terms, and included a record drop of $5.6 billion rate of decline in the category that includes car loans.

The dollar declines translated into a drop of 4 percent in overall borrowing, the biggest percentage setback in nearly 15 years, and a decline of 4.9 percent in the category that includes auto loans, the biggest percentage drop in 13 years.

The big drop took analysts by surprise. They had been expecting that consumer spending would rise at an annual rate of $5 billion in October.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, Reuters and Seattle Times business staff