Penn Central plans to sell Vitro, its other non-insurance units

December 11, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

The Penn Central Corp. announced yesterday that it intend to sell all of its non-insurance operating units, including the Vitro Corp., the company's large defense operations in Silver Spring.

Vitro, which has about 1,600 employees at the Maryland complex, is involved in systems and software engineering services to the Navy, Air Force, Army and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration.

Philip A. Hagel, vice president and treasurer of Penn Central, said the Navy was Vitro's biggest contractor. The Montgomery County complex was involved in software systems for the submarine-launched Trident and Tomahawk cruise missiles and Aegis air defense systems for military ships, he said.

In all, Vitro has a total of 4,300 workers, including another 400 in the Washington area.

Penn Central said it would also be seeking buyers for its diversified industrial companies, which include operations in Connecticut, Texas, Florida, Colorado, California and Florida.

It has engaged the services of BT Securities Corp., an affiliate of Bankers Trust Co., to help in the sale of its Vitro operations.

For the nine months that ended Sept. 30, Vitro recorded operating income of $19.3 million on sales of $419.7 million.

Vitro's subsidiaries, which were reported separately by the company, had $14.7 million in operating income on sales of $312.8 million.

Vitro's book value was approximately $100 million as of Sept. 30.

Mr. Hagel said Penn Central, which got out of the railroad business following its emergence from bankruptcy proceedings in the late 1970s, wanted to concentrate on its highly profitable and growing property and casualty insurance businesses, which acquired in recent years.

The company said it was still seeking additional acquisitions in the property and casualty insurance areas.

Other operations up for sale include: the company's electromechanical connector subsidiary, aerial lift truck unit, aviation battery manufacturing, satellite ground station equipment installation and nuclear energy services units.

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