Hong Kong's CR Airways signed a preliminary agreement to acquire 30 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners that could be delivered in the next five years, the airline and Boeing said Tuesday.

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Hong Kong’s CR Airways signed a preliminary agreement to acquire 30 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners that could be delivered in the next five years, the airline and Boeing said Tuesday.

“This move will surely enable CR Airways to develop its air routes and strengthen Hong Kong’s airline industry,” the carrier said in a Chinese-language news release.

The total list price for all the planes was about $3 billion, said Mark Hooper, a Boeing spokesman.

The signed deal was an agreement stating the airline’s intention to acquire the planes, but the carrier did not say whether it would buy or lease the jets.

The small airline, founded in 2001, flies to Southeast Asia and mainland China.


Wichita engineers

OK new contract

Boeing defense-system engineers in Wichita, Kan., approved Tuesday by a vote of 73 percent an amended contract offer, after rejecting a contract offer earlier this month, the union representing the workers said.

The agreement is valid for three years and is effective immediately, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace said in a statement.

As the union requested, the new offer reduces the term of the contract offer from four to three years, so the Wichita unit’s negotiations remain synchronized with those in the Puget Sound region.

But it doesn’t improve the compensation offer and removes early-retiree medical coverage for employees hired after 2006. About 800 engineers in Boeing’s Wichita defense unit are represented by the union.


Late delivery cited

for Ryanair change

LONDON — Irish budget airline Ryanair Holdings said Tuesday it is cutting its flying schedule in the next quarter because of the late delivery of planes from Boeing. The flight cancellations would result in 100,000 fewer passengers a month from January to March, said Ryanair, which has been rapidly opening routes across Europe in the past year.

Ryanair is waiting for a delivery of four Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, which have been delayed by a strike by Boeing’s Machinists in September.


Pa. center expected

to employ 350

As part of its effort to expand on the East Coast, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) will build a distribution center in Bedford, Pa., the Sumner-based company said Tuesday.

Construction of the planned 400,000-square-foot facility will begin next year and when it opens in 2008, it will employ nearly 350 employees.

REI, founded in Seattle in 1938, has 82 stores, including 18 east of the Mississippi River.

REI’s Sumner distribution center was recently expanded to nearly 700,000 square feet.

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


General Motors

Kerkorian trims

stake in company

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian reduced his stake in General Motors to 7.8 percent, taking a loss on his investment in order to qualify for a tax break, according to a regulatory filing.

Kerkorian — who has lobbied for more say in GM’s operations and a seat on the automaker’s board — owned nearly 10 percent of the company’s shares at the beginning of December. He sold 12 million shares in transactions on Dec. 15 and Dec. 19, according to the filing Monday by his private investment firm, Tracinda, with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Los Angeles-based Tracinda said it sold the shares so that it can end its fiscal year with a capital loss, making it eligible for certain federal and California income-tax breaks. This loss will offset certain gains from an unrelated transaction, the company said in the filing.

Commerce Department


pick up the pace

New home construction unexpectedly increased in November at the fastest pace in seven months in what could be a final flourish for the nation’s 5-year-old housing boom.

The Commerce Department reported that construction activity rose by 5.3 percent in November from the October pace, when housing construction had fallen by 6.6 percent.

Analysts were taken by surprise by the size of the rebound, which pushed construction of homes and apartments to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.123 million units. They had been forecasting a more modest 0.3 percent rise. However, they said the November performance does not change their view that housing is peaking and will move to lower levels next year under the impact of rising mortgage rates.

Tyco International

Plastics, adhesives

business to be sold

Tyco International, the world’s biggest provider of fire protection and security services, agreed to sell its plastics and adhesives business to Apollo Management, a private equity firm, for $975 million in cash.

The business makes duct tape, trash bags, plastic sheeting and other products. It had sales of $1.7 billion this year, Tyco said Tuesday in a statement. The sale doesn’t include Tyco’s coat- hangers business, which will be sold separately. Spokeswoman Sheri Woodruff declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer Edward Breen has spent three years restructuring Tyco since the ouster of L. Dennis Kozlowski, shedding acquired businesses and slicing debt. Tyco put the plastics business up for sale in May. Breen said in September that he might use the proceeds to buy back shares or for “tuck-in” acquisitions.

Morgan Stanley

Investment firm’s

earnings climb 49%

Wall Street investment firm Morgan Stanley saw its fourth-quarter earnings climb 49 percent due to strong investment banking revenues and a surge in fixed-income trading, the company said Tuesday.

The quarterly results outstripped analysts’ forecasts by a wide margin, something the company had been unable to do since the first quarter of the year. Full-year earnings, however, were lower than expected as Morgan Stanley struggled in the first half of the year before a fresh start under current Chief Executive John Mack.

For the fourth quarter ending Nov. 30, Morgan Stanley saw after-tax net earnings of $1.79 billion, or $1.68 per diluted share, compared to $1.2 billion, or $1.09 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 28 percent to $6.96 billion from $5.42 billion a year ago.


Shares surge

on profit report

Palm on Tuesday said profit surged with a tax-related gain in its fiscal second quarter, as the handheld maker added new carriers and increased shipments of its Web-enabled Treo smartphones. Its shares surged in late trading.

Palm shares rose $2.26, or 7.3 percent, in after-hours trading, from its closing price of $30.90 Tuesday.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News