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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Analogic, partner reach agreement

L-3 Communications Corp., which sells equipment to detect bombs in airport luggage, settled a lawsuit in which it claimed business partner Analogic Corp. violated a contract by submitting independent proposals to the Transportation Security Administration. Peabody-based Analogic said terms of the settlement were kept confidential and that the agreement didn't entail a payment by either side. "We look forward to a renewed relationship" and will continue to supply L-3 with scanning equipment, said John W. Wood, Analogic's chief executive. An L-3 spokesman didn't return a call. In the lawsuit, filed in June in Delaware Chancery Court, New York-based L-3 claimed Analogic agreed in 1998 to team exclusively with L-3 and that the two had completed $250 million in business. (Bloomberg)

N.E. residents earn more, donate less

New England residents continue to earn more and give back less, according to an annual index of charitable giving. Connecticut ranks first when it comes to making money, but joins New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in falling to the bottom of the 2004 generosity index, according to the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Mississippi kept the title as the most giving state for the eighth consecutive year. The survey is based on the average adjusted income of residents and the value of itemized charitable donations reported on 2002 federal tax returns, the latest year available. New Hampshire has been the least generous state for six out of the last eight years, with only Massachusetts stealing the title in 1998 and 1999. While Connecticut has the nation's highest average adjusted gross income at $64,724, its residents donate $175 less than the national average. That ranks Connecticut 44th on the generosity index, a slip of seven places from last year. (AP)

Law firm settles debt-collection charges

Schreiber & Associates of Danvers agreed Monday to pay $100,000 and revamp its business practices to resolve charges that it violated state and federal laws covering debt-collection practices. Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly alleged that debt collectors working for the law firm used obscene language, harassed and threatened consumers, failed to prove the validity of debts, and exceeded the number of permissible calls under state and federal laws. As part of the settlement, Schreiber & Associates agreed to pay $20,000 in restitution to customers, $70,000 in penalties, and $10,000 to cover legal costs. (Bruce Mohl)

Athenahealth signs lease in Watertown

Athenahealth Inc. has signed a 10-year lease for 133,000 square feet of space in two buildings at the Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown, owned by Harvard University. The company, whose 325 employees provide Web-based practice-management services for medical groups, will move from its headquarters in Waltham. Grubb & Ellis represented Athenahealth in its lease of the long-empty space on a 37-acre campus. The Beal Cos. represented Harvard. (Thomas C. Palmer Jr.)

1.1m acres of forest sold in Maine, N.H.

International Paper Co. agreed to sell 1.1 million acres of woodlands in Maine and New Hampshire to a timberland investment company for $250 million in one of the largest land deals in Maine in recent years. IP, based in Stamford, Conn., said the sale of all its woodlands in the two states to GMO Renewable Resources should be finalized early next year. GMO Renewable Resources is the timberlands investment division of GMO LLC, a privately held global investment company based in Boston. Under the agreement, the company will own the land and supply timber to IP for its Maine mills in Bucksport and Jay. Only 24,000 acres of the deal are in New Hampshire. (AP)

THE NATION
Net income jumps 29% in 1st quarter

Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest maker of computer-networking equipment, said first- quarter profit rose 29 percent amid demand for Internet phones. Sales fell short of analysts' estimates. Net income increased to $1.4 billion, or 21 cents a share, compared with $1.09 billion, or 15 cents, a year earlier, Cisco said. Sales rose 17 percent to $5.97 billion. Cisco's stockpile of unsold goods was unchanged and sales this quarter won't meet analysts' estimates, signaling demand isn't as robust as investors expected. Chief executive John Chambers is expanding new businesses, including Internet calling and home networking, which are growing faster than the routers and switches that generate two-thirds of sales. (Bloomberg)

Largest corporate dividend ever on tap

Microsoft Corp. shareholders cleared the way for the world's largest software maker to pay out the largest corporate dividend ever next month. At the annual meeting, shareholders approved changes to stock-based employee compensation plans that would maintain the value of stock options and awards, allowing the company to go forward with a $3 per share, or $32 billion, special dividend. Microsoft posted more than $36.8 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year. (Reuters)

Study: Bextra may raise heart attack risk

A new study suggests that Pfizer's painkiller Bextra may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in users, according to a report in today's editions of The New York Times. Patients given Pfizer's painkiller Bextra were 2.19 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those given placebos, according to preliminary results of a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans. The study pooled data from 5,930 patients taking part in 12 trials. Bextra is similar to Vioxx, which was recently withdrawn by Merck after a longer and better-controlled study showed that it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Flu shot supplier gets another contract

The nation's sole flu shot supplier said it won a federal contract to move toward year-round vaccine production, a step that should mean faster action if a new killer flu emerges. The $10 million contract to Aventis Pasteur, the vaccine division of French-based Sanofi-Aventis, comes just two days before the world's vaccine makers gather in Geneva to plan how to respond to a pandemic. Flu vaccine is made from chicken eggs that are produced on a seasonal basis. The contract will allow Aventis to maintain chickens that lay eggs year-round. That would ensure a constant supply that could be used to make a new vaccine in a hurry to fight a new deadly strain. The company also will make a potential pandemic vaccine once a year from a virus identified by federal health officials that can be held in reserve in case of a worldwide epidemic. (AP)

THE WORLD
Gore named chairman of investment firm

Former Vice President Al Gore was named chairman of Generation Investment Management, a new London-based fund management firm that plans to create environment-friendly portfolios. Generation Investment will manage assets of institutional investors, such as pension funds, foundations, and endowments, as well as those of "high net worth individuals," from offices in London and Washington, D.C. Gore said the company will carefully screen potential companies to invest in, choosing only those that meet specific standards on how they treat their employees and the environment. (AP)

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