GLASTONBURY, Conn. - Middle-market manufacturers' Internet use is rising dramatically, according to a survey by Fleet Capital Corp.

The annual telephone poll of 300 chief financial officers found that 57% of companies derived some sales from the Internet, up from 24% last year. The companies said they generated an average of 17% of their sales from the Web and predicted that figure would rise to 23% in the next 12 months.

The survey also found that 98% of the chief financial officers use the Internet for business-related activities, 61% for economic information, 53% for procurement, 53% to find prospective vendors, 47% to recruit employees, and 32% for banking.

Myles Cohen, senior vice president of Fleet Capital, said the rise in Internet use "demonstrates that these companies have fully embraced the Internet to remain competitive in their business."

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