Lockheed will test missile-interceptor system again today...

Business Digest

May 25, 1999

Lockheed will test missile-interceptor system again today

Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, will test its missile-interceptor system today after six consecutive failures, the last of which cost the Bethesda-based company a $15 million penalty.

The Theater High-Altitude Area Air Defense System, or Thaad, missile being tested at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., is part of a $4 billion Pentagon program that could rise to $13 billion.

The system is designed to destroy short-range ballistic missiles, such as the Scuds Iraq used in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Bell Atlantic asks Mass. for OK on long-distance bid

Bell Atlantic Corp., the largest U.S. local telephone company, asked Massachusetts regulators for permission to offer long-distance services, beginning the process for approval in the second of 13 states, including Maryland, where it operates.

Regulators must approve the application before Bell Atlantic can apply to the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. The company expects to forward its New York application to federal regulators next month and to have final approval by fall.

Newport News Shipbuilding, United Steelworkers meet

Negotiators for Newport News Shipbuilding, the nation's only builder of aircraft carriers, and the United Steelworkers met yesterday for the first time since before the union, which represents 9,200 hourly workers at the yard, went on strike seven weeks ago.

Spokesmen for each side said they hoped the meeting arranged by federal mediators would lead to a contract agreement and the end of the strike.

But shipyard spokesman Mike Hatfield would not say whether the yard was willing to budge from what it called its final contract offer, which it delivered during the last talks, on March 30, five days before the strike began.

Texas Instruments to get $1 billion from Hyundai settlement

Texas Instruments Inc., the world's biggest maker of semiconductors for cellular phones, said it will get $1 billion over 10 years in a cross-licensing agreement with Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. that settles all patent litigation between the chip makers.

The Dallas company will receive royalty payments from sales of Hyundai integrated circuits retroactively from 1997 through 2007. The payments will add about 12 cents a share to its second-quarter earnings.

In March, a federal jury ordered Hyundai, one of South Korea's three biggest electronics makers, to pay $25.2 million for infringing on two patents in one of several suits between the companies.

Barnesandnoble.com raises $450 million in stock sale

Barnesandnoble.com Inc., the online bookseller owned by Barnes & Noble Inc. and Bertelsmann AG, raised $450 million in an initial stock sale yesterday that tapped into investors' belief that the company will challenge Amazon.com Inc.

The New York-based company sold 25 million shares at $18 each, at the top of the $16-to-$18 range set by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co., which handled the transaction. The sale represented an 18 percent stake and gave the company a market value of $2.52 billion.

IBM seeks to save money, is selling leased computers

International Business Machines Corp., the world's No. 1 computer maker, is selling its leased computers and related equipment in a plan to save $400 million to $500 million in the next four years.

The returned computers are either sold as used equipment or dismantled for spare parts in the worldwide program begun in November. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company will save more than $150 million of the total in the next 12 months, Joseph Lane, general manager of IBM Global Financing, said yesterday. IBM's computer-leasing operation generated $3.77 billion in revenue last year, but Chairman Louis Gerstner is looking for ways to save money. The company expects to save $340 million this year by using the Internet to reach buyers and cut costs.

Kaiser plans new talks with striking workers

Kaiser Aluminum Corp., locked in a dispute with 3,000 union workers who walked off the job eight months ago, returns to the bargaining table this week -- this time with the upper hand, analysts said.

Neither side expects a settlement this week. The union said it is submitting a new contract proposal, which will take time for the company to review.

Kaiser, the No. 3 U.S. aluminum producer, said some parts of its smelters and mills have boosted efficiency since the Sept. 30 walkout at five plants, detracting from the urgency of a settlement.

McKesson HBOC fighting lawsuits, fraud accusations

McKesson HBOC Inc. is fighting a barrage of lawsuits, allegations of financial fraud and questions from federal regulators.

McKesson, the nation's largest drug wholesaler, said April 28 that a year-end audit found $42 million in sales improperly recorded by HBOC, a health care software company in Atlanta that McKesson bought in January, and that the mess would force it to restate earnings for the past four quarters.

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