In the Region Mid Atlantic Medical 4th-quarter earnings...

BUSINESS DIGEST

February 14, 2002

In the Region

Mid Atlantic Medical 4th-quarter earnings increase 38 percent

Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc. said yesterday that its fourth-quarter earnings grew 38 percent as revenue increased and administrative costs declined.

The Rockville insurer reported net income of $17.3 million, or 43 cents per share, on revenue of $472.9 million for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That compares with earnings of $12.5 million, or 31 cents a share, on revenue of $384.6 million in the 2000 fourth quarter.

MAMSI, as the company is known, said its fourth-quarter commercial health premiums totaled nearly $458 million, up $92.4 million, or more than 25 percent, from the fourth quarter of 2000.

Late 2001 surge in sales benefits Universal Security

An end-of-the-year surge in sales pushed profit back into positive territory for Universal Security Instruments Inc., an Owings Mills maker of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and assorted home security products.

In the three months that ended Dec. 31, the company reported net income of $36,433, or 4 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $196,270, or 22 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 18 percent to $2.97 million, compared with $2.52 million in the 2000 quarter.

In the nine months that ended Dec. 31, Universal's net income was $122,335, or 13 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $158,307, or 17 cents per share, in the year-earlier nine months. Sales were $7.87 million, up 25 percent from $6.31 million a year earlier.

Bethesda-based USEC to cut 440 jobs in Ohio

USEC Inc. will cut 440 jobs at an Ohio plant as it consolidates shipping operations at a Kentucky plant this summer as part of a plan to cut costs by $40 million a year, the company said yesterday.

The Bethesda-based maker of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants said the job cuts will occur over six months at its Portsmouth, Ohio, plant beginning in June. Up to 50 jobs will be added at its Paducah, Ky., plant.

The cuts amount to 14.9 percent of its overall work force of 2,950 people. USEC said it expects the moves to cost about $29 million in restructuring fees and employee severance packages, but will generate about $40 million in annual savings beginning in fiscal 2003.

Elsewhere

United Airlines, union set urgent talks after pact offer is rejected

Facing the threat of a strike within a week, United Airlines scheduled urgent new talks with its mechanics' union yesterday after its contract offer was resoundingly rejected Tuesday.

Officials at the world's second-biggest airline agreed to meet with union negotiators in Chicago starting tomorrow. The mechanics can legally strike at 12:01 a.m. next Wednesday.

Both the airline and industry analysts played down the likelihood of a walkout, which would be the first at United since pilots struck for 29 days in 1985. But United was scrambling to improve its offer to forestall a strike it can ill afford after a record $2.1 billion annual loss last year.

Ford settles lawsuit in sex harassment case

Ford Motor Co. settled a lawsuit yesterday in Norfolk, Va., with three women who said they were sexually harassed at a truck assembly plant for nearly three years and claimed the company did nothing about it.

The settlement was announced just before jury selection was to begin in federal court for the lawsuit that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed on behalf of Deidre S. Gutierrez, Tina M. Hampton and Tiffany Simpson.

Details of the settlement were not discussed in court, and the women and their lawyers would not comment. Details will be contained in a consent decree that is to be filed within 10 days.

British Airways to trim 5,800 jobs over two years

British Airways PLC said yesterday that it will eliminate 5,800 jobs over two years - almost 12 percent of its work force - and plans a "significant restructuring" to cut costs and tackle debts.

The fresh job losses, in addition to 7,200 previously announced, will help the company save $931 million annually, the airline said.

The carrier said it wants to achieve the job reductions over the next two years by voluntary means and would work with unions to achieve its target. The cuts would bring the total number of job losses at the airline to 13,000, or 23 percent, since August, when its work force was 56,700.

Tyco issues glum forecast, but its candor is praised

In the first of a series of conference calls to repair its bruised corporate image, Tyco International Ltd. yesterday issued a disappointing second-quarter earnings forecast but won points from analysts for being upfront about its financial situation.

Blaming added interest expenses, sluggish business in its electronics division and costs associated with negative speculation about the company, Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz said earnings in the current quarter could be between 65 cents and 68 cents a share, about a dime lower than analysts' earlier predictions.

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