In the Region Army delays OK on producing Lockheed...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 13, 2001

In the Region

Army delays OK on producing Lockheed missile

The U.S. Army has delayed, by 13 months, a decision on whether to approve full production of a new Lockheed Martin Corp. battlefield missile because Northrop Grumman Corp., the top subcontractor, is late delivering the warheads.

Northrop's share of the $2.4 billion production program is $1.6 billion. The company is at least 10 months late delivering the anti-armor warheads, having delivered only 13 of 150 due. Northrop also running over the $84.2 million fixed-price contract to develop 88 test missiles.

The Land Combat Systems unit falls under Northrop Grumman's Linthicum-based Electronic Sensors & Systems unit, which had $4.3 billion of the company's $9.2 billion in 2000 contract awards. The warheads are manufactured at Northrop Grumman's Land Combat Systems unit in Huntsville, Ala.

Martek Biosciences has loss of 20 cents a share

Martek Biosciences Corp. yesterday reported a net loss of $3.6 million, or 20 cents per share, for its first quarter, which ended Jan. 31, compared with a net loss of $3.8 million, or 23 cents per share, posted for the year-earlier quarter.

Sales at the Columbia company - whose main product is an additive for infant formula - grew 94 percent, to $3.5 million, compared with $1.8 million in the year-earlier quarter, mainly because of increases in royalty fees and nutritional product sales.

Martek also said it is implementing all-inclusive pricing arrangements with its most active infant formula licensees as a way to diminish the time lag in reporting revenues from royalty sales.

Super Bowl helps raise BWI passenger count 24%

A surge of travelers heading to the Super Bowl and presidential inaugural ceremonies pushed passenger traffic at Baltimore-Washington International Airport up 23.7 percent in January from a year earlier.

The airport handled 1.5 million passengers during January, the 27th consecutive month the airport logged a double-digit gain in passengers. Officials also attributed the unusually large gain to last year's Y2K computer concerns, which prompted many travelers to postpone travel around the first of 2000.

Southwest Airlines continues to flourish at BWI. The Dallas-based airline reported a 44 percent gain in passengers in January of this year compared with January 2000. US Airways, the airport's No. 2 carrier behind Southwest, gained 20 percent compared with January 2000. International travel increased by 23.9 percent during the month, partly because two new carriers began flights to BWI last fall.

Elsewhere

Saudi says OPEC will agree Friday to cut oil output

OPEC members will agree to reduce oil production at a meeting Friday, the second such reduction this year, Saudi Arabian oil minister yesterday.

Ali Al-Naimi made the prediction in a statement, released after a meeting in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with oil ministers from Venezuela and non-OPEC Mexico.

The amount of the cut will be based on OPEC's evaluation of supply and demand and of current and projected inventory levels, he said.

Several other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have called for a cut in crude-oil production of up to 1 million barrels a day to keep an oil index the group monitors, known as the OPEC basket, at about $25 a barrel. The price was $24.59 a barrel Friday.

FCC, now led by Bush man, approves 32 radio mergers

The Federal Communications Commission, working its way through a backlog, cleared 32 radio mergers yesterday after determining that the deals warranted no further review.

New Chairman Michael Powell, appointed by President Bush to replace Democrat William Kennard, wants to act quicker on pending matters.

Powell repeatedly has stressed the importance of expediting FCC decisions, favorable to companies or not, so they can form appropriate business plans and not face uncertain fates in a changing marketplace.

The 32 mergers were cases that had been "flagged" by the commission for closer competitive analysis as the result of a 1996 telecommunications law that got rid of a restriction on how many radio stations a company could own nationwide. The same law also eased caps on how many stations a company could own in a local market.

Frankel pleads not guilty to insurance fraud charges

Martin Frankel, the U.S. financier who was captured in Germany last year after four months on the run, pleaded not guilty yesterday to stealing more than $200 million from insurance companies in five states.

Frankel, 46, formerly of Greenwich, Conn., faces federal charges of racketeering, fraud and conspiracy. He is accused of looting insurance companies in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Regulators in those states are seeking more than $600 million in damages from Frankel in civil cases.

Three associates have pleaded guilty to related charges.

Hershey Foods names Kraft executive as CEO

Hershey Foods Corp., the world's largest candy maker, has named a Kraft Foods executive as its chief executive officer.

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