AIRLINES

Air China Orders 20 Jets From Airbus

Airbus said it received an order for 20 of its twin-aisle A330 passenger jets from Air China in a deal worth about $3.9 billion at list prices.

Air China said the jets, each of which seats 253 passengers in a three-class configuration, will allow it to open new international routes. Delivery is scheduled to begin in May.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

German Regulator Clears Bank Consolidation

Germany's financial regulator approved the merger between Germany's HVG Group and Unicredito of Italy, clearing the way for Europe's largest international bank. Germany's BaFin said it saw no reason to prevent the merger and that Banca d'Italia, Italy's regulator, had also approved it.

Unicredito has offered five of its shares for each HVB share, valuing the deal at $18.7 billion. It said it would also offer cash or stock for outstanding shares in HVB's Austrian and Polish units.

ZIMBABWE

Currency Devalued to Boost Exports

Zimbabwe's central bank devalued the currency by 49 percent against the dollar, the second time in two months it has adjusted the currency to boost exports and the foreign reserves needed to pay for fuel and food. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe cut the rate that Zimbabweans receive when sending money back to the country to 17,500 Zimbabwean dollars per U.S. dollar from 9,000, Governor Gideon Gono said.

BRAZIL

Sony Predicts Lower Rate of Growth

Sony forecast that sales in Brazil will increase as much as 15 percent in the year through March 2006, to $499 million, less than half of the growth it had in the previous fiscal year, said the president of the unit. Sony's sales have been helped by booming consumer credit in Brazil and rising demand for home-theater products, he said.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.