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Business in brief: Iraq signs deal to buy Boeing planes

Iraq on Monday signed deals worth $5 billion to buy 40 planes from Boeing – and possibly up to 55 – to upgrade Iraqi Airways’ aging fleet.

Boeing announced it would deliver 30 Boeing 737-800 commercial airplanes beginning in 2013 and that Iraq has taken options for 10 additional 737s. Iraq and Boeing are finalizing an agreement for 10 Boeing 787s, and Iraq might take options on five additional 787s.

Iraq also ordered 10 planes from Bombardier, but no further details were immediately available on the types of planes that will be purchased from the Canadian company.

Associated Press


Inland Empire Toyota sponsors parade

Expect the big parade to be heavy on Toyotas.

The Inland Empire Toyota Dealers announced Monday it will sponsor the Spokane Lilac Festival for the next three years, with cash contributions, advertising and promotions. As part of the deal, the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade – which this year falls on May 17 – will feature 12 Toyota vehicles, according to a Festival press release.

The dealers group includes seven Eastern Washington and North Idaho dealerships.

The Lilac Festival Association faced dire straits after donations lagged in 2006, leaving a nearly empty reserve last year. Donors stepped in to meet the need.

Staff report

Group Health gets best marks in poll

Group Health Cooperative scored the highest overall ratings in a J.D. Power & Associates survey on Northwest health plans.

The Washington-based managed care company received the best marks for coverage and benefits, and information and communication. It received lower marks for the choices of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies within its provider network.

Premera Blue Cross also scored well. Premera is the dominant private insurer in Eastern Washington.

J.D. Power offers ranking on a variety of products and services.

Staff report

Coeur d’Alene

Timberline to begin trading on AMEX

Shares of Timberline Resources Corp. will start trading on the American Stock Exchange on May 12, company officials said Monday.

Shares will trade under the symbol “TLR.”

The AMEX listing will help Timberline gain exposure as the company prepares for growth, said CEO Randy Hardy. Timberline plans to purchase another firm, Small Mine Development, which will expand its contract mining business. Timberline also has a mineral exploration division.

Until the move to AMEX is complete, Timberline will continue trading on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol “TBLC.”

Staff report


Post Falls company has deals in Mexico

Gov. Butch Otter’s recent trade mission to Mexico appears to have yielded some early results.

Otter and a delegation of 16 Idaho companies toured Mexico last month, meeting with government and industry leaders.

Officials say at least one company, Post Falls-based Ground Force Manufacturing, returned with verbal sales agreements valued at more than $1 million.

Agriculture officials say they met with government leaders who could help open markets to Idaho potatoes and bean seeds.

Last year, Idaho companies exported $136.8 million in goods to Mexico, up five percent from the previous year.

Staff report

Kansas City, Kan.

Workers strike at GM Malibu plant

A strike by a United Autoworkers local at the General Motors plant adds to mounting problems for the automaker.

Employees at the Fairfax plant, which has more than 2,500 UAW members, vowed to stay out for as long as necessary to get a contract.

The strike is particularly important to GM because the plant produces the Malibu, a medium-sized sedan that was named “Car of the Year” at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

The redesigned 2008 Malibu has posted strong sales as drivers move away from trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Wire report


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