In the Region Telenor completes its purchase of Comsat...


January 15, 2002

In the Region

Telenor completes its purchase of Comsat Mobile

Telenor ASA has completed its $116 million purchase of Comsat Mobile Communications from Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the Norwegian telecommunications group said yesterday.

Comsat Mobile, with annual sales of about $100 million, provides global communications services for maritime, land mobile and aeronautical users. Government-controlled Telenor said Comsat Mobile will now be called Telenor Satellite Services Inc. and will be part of its satellite telecommunications division. As part of the deal, two Comsat Mobile base stations, at Southbury, Conn., and Santa Paula, Calif., were transferred to Telenor with all their employees.

Lockheed and Telenor announced the planned sale in March 2001. Oslo-based Telenor said the takeover will make it one of the world's leading suppliers of satellite telecommunications.

Earnings increase 11% at Sandy Spring Bancorp

Sandy Spring Bancorp, the parent company of Sandy Spring Bank, yesterday posted earnings of $6.0 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, for its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31. That's an 11 percent increase over the $5.4 million, or 38 cents a share, earned in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Earnings for the year were $23.1 million, or $1.59 a share, up 23 percent from $18.8 million, or $1.31 a share, earned in 2000.


KPMG censured for auditing fund in which it invested

KPMG LLP, the third-largest U.S. accounting firm, was censured yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commission for auditing a money-market fund at the same time that it was investing in the client.

New York-based KPMG audited the financial statements of the Short-Term Investments Trust, a government money market fund within the AIM family of funds, at the same time that it had deposited more than $25 million in the trust, the SEC said.

The SEC case comes as Chairman Harvey Pitt is under pressure to toughen his approach to the accounting industry after the collapse of Enron Corp. The SEC is investigating Enron and its auditor, Arthur Andersen LLP, whose independence as an auditor was questioned because it also worked as a consultant to Enron.

Raytheon to sell division to L-3 for $1.13 billion

Raytheon Co. plans to sell its Aircraft Integration Systems division to L-3 Communications for $1.13 billion. Daniel Burnham, chairman and chief executive of Massachusetts-based Raytheon, said the deal announced yesterday would help Raytheon focus on areas such as missile defense, surveillance equipment and precision strike weapons systems.

The division, based in Greenville, Texas, modifies aircraft and handles maintenance and systems work. Annualized revenue was about $900 million last year.

"It certainly would seem like a pretty nice price for Raytheon," said Sam Pearlstein, an aerospace and defense analyst at Wachovia Securities.

JetBlue signs to buy 10 more Airbus A320s

Low-fare carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. has signed an order for 10 Airbus A320 aircraft, the European aircraft consortium said yesterday.

Deliveries are expected to start this year and continue through 2005, according to a statement from Airbus.

New York City-based JetBlue is one of Airbus' top five customers for the A320 model, a single-aisle plane that carries 162 passengers.

HP, Compaq plan bonuses totaling $634 million

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. would shell out $634 million in bonuses to key employees as an incentive to stay on if their merger goes through, both companies disclosed yesterday.

Hewlett-Packard would pay $33.1 million to 10 top executives and $337 million to about 6,000 selected employees over two years, according to an updated merger prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Compaq would pay $22.4 million to seven top executives and $242 million to an undisclosed number of employees over two years.

Industrial hemp grower planning to sue U.S.

Canadian hemp grower and processor Kenex Ltd. said yesterday that it will sue the U.S. government for C$20 million ($12.7 million) under the North American Free Trade Agreement for stopping the company from selling its hemp food products in the United States.

The Ontario company said it intended to sue after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration last October deemed illegal any hemp foods containing traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient found in marijuana.

Industrial hemp, legalized in Canada in 1998, is still illegal in the United States because the cannabis sativa plant - from which hemp is derived - is used to produce marijuana. But industrial hemp contains minuscule amounts of THC compared with its illegal brother. Foods made from hemp include pretzels, tortilla chips, waffles, bread, salad dressing, candy, cereal and ice cream.

100 Church's restaurants to be opened in Africa

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