In the Region Mack Trucks to add to Md. presence with...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 16, 2001

In the Region

Mack Trucks to add to Md. presence with Elkridge warehouse

Mack Trucks Inc. is expanding its presence in Maryland with a new parts-distribution center in Elkridge.

Mack, based in Allentown, Pa., will move 122 jobs from its 210,000-square-foot distribution facility in Severn to the 314,000-square-foot Howard County warehouse when it's completed this fall. It will become one of two master distribution facilities in the United States; the other is in Chicago.

Mack also has a facility in Hagerstown, where it builds transmissions and engines.

GAO recommends limit on F-22 fighter purchases

The U.S. Defense Department should limit its purchase of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-22 fighter over the next three years because the fighter jet is "significantly behind" in testing, the General Accounting Office says.

The Air Force plans to buy up to 50 fighters through fiscal 2003 in the program's low-production phase. The congressional watchdog agency recommends that no more than 30, or 10 annually, should be purchased pending more flight and ground tests.

The report comes at a delicate time for the $62 billion jet program. President Bush said Wednesday that the United States may not be able to afford all three new jet fighters planned by the Pentagon - one of which is the F-22 - and last week Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress he was delaying F-22 purchases until a review of U.S. military strategy is finished.

Biotech industry bills killed in House committee

Two bills sought by Maryland's biotechnology industry and promoted by Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan were killed yesterday in the House Ways and Means Committee.

One of the bills would have allowed start-up biotech companies to sell their tax losses to other companies that could use the write-offs. The other would have exempted supercomputers and other advanced equipment used in biotechnology facilities from the state sales tax. Committee chairwoman Sheila E. Hixson, who co-sponsored both bills, explained that the committee had concerns about the cost to the state. The Montgomery Democrat said the panel would study both ideas while the General Assembly is out of session.

Arena to use Celera databases for research

Celera Genomics Group said yesterday that Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. has signed a multiyear subscription agreement to use its databases for genomic research. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Arena researchers will use Celera's integrated database products, bioinformatics systems and other tools in conducting their genomics research. They will access Celera's products through the Web-based Celera Discovery System.

Delegates approve tourism department

The House of Delegates approved a bill yesterday that would create a new Department of Tourism and set goals for spending increases to promote the state's attractions.

By a 126-9 vote, the House sent the bill to the Senate. There, it will not have the powerful sponsorship of House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., who made the legislation one of his top goals for the session.

The legislation would combine units of the Departments of Housing and Community Development and Business and Economic Development to form the state's 19th Cabinet-level agency. The bill would not affect the Glendening administration, which opposed the legislation, but would require the governor elected in 2002 to set up such a department.

Satellite systems firm to have European branch

Integral Systems Inc., which develops satellite ground systems for communications and scientific uses, yesterday announced the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary to manage and market its operations in Europe.

Integral Systems Europe S.A.S., based in Toulouse, France, will be Lanham-based Integral's focal point for its European business.

The company employs 230 people in Maryland and at other locations in the United States and Europe. The new venture will begin with five employees, including the president, Bruno Dupas.

Elsewhere

United Airlines warns of losses, announces cost-cutting efforts

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. warned yesterday that its first-quarter earnings will fall well below expectations because of a drop in business travel it blames on the U.S. economic slowdown.

The world's largest airline issued a statement saying it is taking immediate steps to cut costs by $200 million.

"We are making every effort to minimize the impact of our cost-reduction efforts on customer service," the airline's statement said.

Heinz announces job cuts of 1,900 worldwide

H.J . Heinz plans to eliminate 1,900 jobs, or about 4 percent of its global work force, with most of the cuts coming in its struggling tuna and pet food operations.

The company behind StarKist tuna and 9-Lives pet food as well as its famous flagship ketchup announced the job reduction plans yesterday and said its earnings before one-time items rose only slightly in its third fiscal quarter from a year ago.

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