In the Region Moody's, S&P cut credit outlook for Black...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 19, 2001

In the Region

Moody's, S&P cut credit outlook for Black & Decker

Black & Decker Corp.'s credit-rating outlook was cut to "stable" from "positive" by Moody's Investors Service after the biggest maker of power tools said profit this year will be less than forecast.

Standard & Poor's also lowered its outlook to "stable" and reaffirmed its credit rating of "BBB." Moody's reaffirmed its long-term rating of "Baa2."

Towson-based Black & Decker has said profit this year will be $3.10 to $3.25 a share, below previous analyst estimates and less than the $3.51 a share the company earned last year. Sales and profit have been hurt as U.S. retailers, such as Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos., cut orders for drills, saws and other tools to reduce inventory, analysts have said.

Orion Power is seeking $362 million from offering

Orion Power Holdings Inc., a Baltimore energy company that buys and operates power plants nationwide, plans to raise about $362.6 million in a public offering of 13 million newly issued shares of common stock sold at $30.75 each, according to an amended prospectus filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After deducting underwriting discounts, commissions and estimated offering expenses, the company expects to net about $305.2 million. Proceeds from the sale will be used to develop a 1,650- megawatt, gas-fired power plant in Waldorf, repay debt and for general corporate purposes.

The company also expects to net about $194.1 million from the sale of its convertible debt, after deducting underwriting discounts, commissions and estimated offering expenses.

Celsion seeks FDA's OK to widen treatment tests

Celsion Corp. said yesterday that it has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to expand, from six to 10, the number of sites testing its experimental heat treatment for a benign prostate disease on patients.

The focused heat treatment is being tested in Phase II clinical trials on patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition that is characterized by an enlarged prostate that constricts the urethra. The focused heat treatment is an outpatient procedure.

The Columbia company said it expects to concentrate on high-volume private urology practices for the additional testing.

Global trade institute hires P&G official as new chief

The World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore announced yesterday that it has hired Procter & Gamble executive Deborah Marie Kielty as its executive director.

Kielty, who was chosen from a pool of more than 60 applicants, replaces Penelope Menzies, the institute's director since 1995. Menzies is leaving for a job with the World Trade Centers Association, of which the Baltimore group is a member. Kielty is currently vice president for global alliances, licensing and new business at Procter & Gamble Co.

The Baltimore organization is a nonprofit organization that helps companies develop international markets through education, market research and networking.

Elsewhere

IBP chief denies hiding data from Tyson, then a suitor

IBP Corp.'s chief executive officer, Robert L.Peterson, denied under cross-examination yesterday that he hid information about the company's financial troubles before Tyson Foods Inc. agreed to buy the largest beef producer for $4.7 billion.

Tyson lawyer Anthony Clark challenged Peterson's testimony in Delaware Chancery Court that he disclosed an IBP unit's troubles at a meeting in December. The unit's problems led to $44.9 million in charges against IBP's 1999 and 2000 earnings and prompted Tyson, the largest poultry processor, to abort the purchase.

IBP is asking a judge to force Tyson to consummate the transaction.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters.

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