In the Region Daily BWI flights to Cumberland are...

BUSINESS DIGEST

November 21, 2001

In the Region

Daily BWI flights to Cumberland are delayed again

The launch of state-subsidized air service between Cumberland and Baltimore-Washington International Airport - already delayed once - is being postponed again as the carrier works to get the necessary clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The flights - three round trips per day during the week and two per day on weekends - were scheduled to begin Nov. 1, then Nov. 29. Each trip includes a stop in Hagerstown.

The launch has been postponed indefinitely while Boston-Maine Airways continues to work with the FAA on completing the necessary demonstration flights, so it can get certified for scheduled passenger travel, said Daniel Fortnam, the airline's vice president of sales and marketing.

Baltimore ad agency lands three new clients

Bionic Box Inc., a Baltimore advertising and Internet firm, plans to announce next week that it has landed three new clients that will prompt the small local company to hire two or more new employees.

The company said it would enhance the Web site of Lumenos Inc., a Virginia health care company, and launch the first print-advertising campaign of Codeon Corp., a Columbia telecommunications company. Bionic Box also will redesign the Chesapeake Web site of Goodwill Industries.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The two expected hires would bring to 14 the number of employees at Bionic Box.

Elsewhere

Johnson Wax to pay $1.6 billion for Unilever unit

Johnson Wax Professional, the closely held U.S. maker of its namesake floor cleaner, agreed to buy Unilever's industrial-cleaners unit for about $1.6 billion to more than double its sales.

Johnson Wax, spun off from S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. in 1999, will pay $1 billion in cash for DiverseyLever and will give Unilever a $279 million loan note, the company said. Unilever also will get a one-third stake valued at $300 million in the combined operations, which it can sell after five years.

DiverseyLever's soaps sold to clients such as hospitals and hotels will add $1.5 billion in sales to Johnson Wax's floor cleaners, making it a more formidable competitor to Procter & Gamble Co.'s industrial-cleaning unit, analysts said.

The acquisition will add 11,000 employees to Johnson Wax's own 3,800 and will boost the company's annual revenue to $2.6 billion. While the company, based in Racine, Wis., will reduce staffing, it hasn't decided whether reductions will be made through layoffs or attrition, said Jim May, a Johnson spokesman.

FedEx to raise rates an average 3.5% in Jan.

FedEx Corp. will raise U.S. rates an average 3.5 percent for air and ground shipments in January, joining rival United Parcel Service Inc. in implementing the annual increase a month early.

The FedEx increases, which include the FedEx Express and FedEx Ground units, take effect Jan. 7, the largest overnight delivery company said. The company also raised the additional fees for some deliveries to homes. United Parcel earlier this month boosted ground and air shipping rates, also effective Jan. 7.

Growth has slowed at FedEx, United Parcel and other shipping companies this year as demand for goods fell in the weaker U.S. economy. Even so, FedEx last month projected its profit would exceed forecasts for its fiscal second quarter, which ends Nov. 30. The service based its forecast on an increase in sales due to a U.S. Postal Service contract. It also said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hurt business less than expected.

EU court halts selling of Levi jeans at discount

An European Union court decision barring Britain's biggest supermarket from selling Levi's jeans at cut-rate prices is a blow to long-suffering European consumers who simply want the same value for their money as Americans, activists and retailers said yesterday.

Siding with Levi Strauss & Co. in its three-year battle with supermarket chain Tesco, the European Court of Justice upheld an EU law requiring that trademark holders must give clear consent before their goods can be imported and sold within its 18 member states.

The dispute flared after Tesco started importing Levi's 501 jeans from outside the European Union, where they are cheaper, and selling them at a discount to the prevailing retail prices in Britain.

175 checks issued to kin of Flight 587 crash victims

American Airlines is giving a lump sum payment of $25,000, plus funeral and transportation costs, to families of each passenger in the crash of Flight 587 killed last week in New York.

About 175 checks had been distributed so far, said Minnette Velez, an American Airlines spokeswoman. The crash of Flight 587, in which investigators are focusing on mechanical failure, killed all 260 aboard the airliner and five people on the ground.

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