In the Region Air Force to buy 40 more Lockheed C-130J...

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 16, 2002

In the Region

Air Force to buy 40 more Lockheed C-130J transports

The U.S. Air Force agreed yesterday to order 40 Lockheed Martin Corp. C-130J transport planes valued at as much as $3 billion, a sale that could make a profit for the program if the spending is approved by Congress for 2003.

The order would be the largest for the C-130J, the latest version of an aircraft created in the 1950s to ferry troops and supplies. The plane is built in Marietta, Ga.

Bethesda-based Lockheed, the largest U.S. defense contractor, has a history of cost overruns and technical problems with the plane. The company, which pitched the sale to the Air Force last year, has made 113 of the 120 C-130Js it needs for the program to turn a profit. The fiscal 2002 defense budget includes funding for five C-130Js. The new contract would replace a program that planned to spend about $2.7 billion for as many as 38 C-130Js through 2007.

Acting bankruptcy clerk gets job permanently

Mark D. Sammons, who for the past year has served as acting clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Maryland, has been named the court's clerk. He replaces Richard C. Donovan, who resigned in December 2000 to become clerk of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Sammons, 45, of Ellicott City, was Donovan's chief deputy for four years. He previously worked with federal bankruptcy courts in Virginia, Georgia and Florida.

In Baltimore, Sammons will oversee a 110-person staff. His appointment was announced by U.S. Bankruptcy Judges James F. Schneider and E. Stephen Derby.

Computerized mini-bars installed in Vegas hotel

Bartech Systems International, a Millersville mini-bar company, announced yesterday that it has finished installing its product in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas - the company's largest installation so far.

Bartech develops mini-bars that use microswitches and infrared beams to recognize when an item is lifted off the shelf and send an instant message to the front desk at hotels.

The company said the 3,005-room Bellagio installation was a multimillion-dollar deal, but did not release specific terms.

MedImmune's purchase of Aviron is completed

MedImmune Inc. said yesterday that it has completed its $1.5 billion acquisition of Aviron.

The purchase gives Gaithersburg-based MedImmune the rights to Aviron's experimental flu vaccine, a nasally inhaled product that MedImmune has said could generate $1 billion in annual sales within five years.

MedImmune bought more than 90 percent of the shares of Mountain View, Calif.-based Aviron in a share exchange offer that expired last Wednesday. Yesterday, it made Aviron a wholly owned subsidiary, converting each remaining Aviron share into the right to receive 1.075 MedImmune shares - the same exchange ratio other shareholders got.

Elsewhere

Ford weighs sale of Collision Team, Kwik-Fit, GreenLeaf

Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that it is considering selling all or part of three businesses outside its core operations of building cars and trucks and servicing them.

The businesses are Kwik-Fit, a maintenance and light repair business that has 2,400 service centers and more than 11,500 employees; Collision Team of America, which operates 32 repair shops in four states under various names and has about 850 employees; and GreenLeaf LLC, which operates 31 recycling centers in 14 states and two Canadian provinces.

The announcement came less than a week after the nation's second-biggest automaker revealed a turnaround plan that includes eliminating 35,000 jobs, closing five plants and ending four models, including the Lincoln Continental.

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

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