Lockheed receives contract to maintain satellite...

Business Digest

August 23, 1996

Lockheed receives contract to maintain satellite network

Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda said yesterday that its Federal Systems unit in Gaithersburg has won a contract worth up to $368 million to maintain a satellite network that serves the Air Force, NASA and NATO.

The company won another contract in July to upgrade the network at a price initially set at between $24 million and $48 million. The new contract is to keep the network running while it is being upgraded.

Lockheed Martin has been maintaining the satellite system since 1980. The control network operates an array of satellites that handle weather, communications and surveillance tasks for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Kaiser Permanente is fully accredited

The local Kaiser Permanente health plan has received full three-year accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Kaiser officials announced yesterday.

Participation in the accreditation program is voluntary. About 40 percent of the plans that have been reviewed have received full accreditation; those serving Marylanders are CareFirst/FreeState/Potomac, Columbia, NYLCare and Prudential. Plans serving Maryland with one-year accreditation are Aetna, Chesapeake and CIGNA. Accreditation was denied for the plans run by Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc.

Kaiser has nearly 400,000 members in the Baltimore-Washington area.

GEIS obtains Chinese contract

China Telecom and the China National Posts & Telecommunications Appliances Corp. have signed a contract with Rockville-based GEIS International Inc., and Tandem Computers Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., to construct a China Public Electronic Data Interchange business network.

The agreement calls for EDI centers to be set up in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Xian, Wuhai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Haikou. Three other cities: Shanghai, Shangdong and Shenzhen have already selected GEIS and Tandem as providers.

The 13 centers will provide EDI capability to banks, government organizations and other local traders. These local users will be able to conduct electronic trade with similar users in the other 12 locations, and with the rest of the world via GEIS' international EDI network for global electronic commerce.

United orders 51 airliners for $4.4 billion

United Airlines said yesterday that it ordered 51 new airliners valued at $4.4 billion from Boeing Co. and Airbus Industrie. Although the lion's share went to Boeing, one industry analyst said the European consortium scored a big victory over arch-rival Boeing.

United said it will buy 24 narrow-body A319 aircraft from Airbus. The order is valued at $900 million based on manufacturers' list prices, but United will likely pay much less because of special discounts.

United chose the Airbus planes over competing Boeing 737-700s and 737-300s after evaluating both, a UAL spokesman said.

Automakers want airbags to deploy less forcefully

The Big Three automakers are proposing changes in government test standards that would allow them to install air bags that inflate less forcefully, industry officials said yesterday.

Twenty-four children and 19 adults have been killed by deploying air bags since the mid-1980s, according to government statistics. Those deaths, combined with injuries from air bags and the rapid growth in the number of vehicles with air bags, have prompted the proposal, the officials said.

Air bags can deploy at up to 200 mph in less time than the blink of an eye. The American Automobile Manufacturers Association, which represents Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Corp. and General Motors Corp., wants to change government crash tests that require air bags to deploy with enough force to cushion an unbelted dummy in a 30 mph crash into a solid barrier.

Jill Barad named Mattel CEO

Mattel Inc. yesterday promoted President Jill Barad to chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, making her one of only two female CEOs among the Fortune 500 companies. The other is Marion Sandler, who heads California thrift Golden West Financial Corp.

Barad was named president and chief operating officer of Mattel in 1992. She joined Mattel in 1981 as a product manager and was named marketing director for the Barbie brand in 1982,

When Barad was appointed marketing director for Barbie, the doll's annual sales were only $235 million.

She refashioned the doll into a career woman with 100 different versions, which fueled the toy's popularity. Last year, Barbie sales hit $1.5 billion.

Boston Chicken plans many more restaurants

Boston Chicken Inc. plans to triple -- to 2,700 -- the number of restaurants it will open in the next five to seven years.

The owner of the Boston Market chain also plans to begin opening restaurants outside the United States, roll out a network advertising campaign and offer new products to attract more young men, who are big consumers of fast food.

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