In the Region InfoVista to move headquarters from...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 16, 2002

In the Region

InfoVista to move headquarters from Columbia to N.Y.

InfoVista SA is moving its U.S. headquarters from Columbia to New York, where it already has located its North American operations, finance and human resources functions, and its Northeastern sales staff.

The French software company wouldn't say how many jobs will be lost in Columbia, but officials said some of their technical support and customer service employees will remain at the office on Little Patuxent Parkway.

The firm employs 230 people worldwide.

Baltimore company to train Ohio workers

Prometric Inc., a Baltimore computer-based testing company, plans to announce today that it is starting a new training program for Ohio's work force.

The training service is being offered by Prometric in conjunction with the Vendor Consortium, Enterprise Ohio Network and Ohio Board of Regents.

The service was created to close the skills gap in Ohio's work force, according to the company. It will be offered from centers on college campuses in Ohio, and the first center is scheduled to open this month.

City insurance office wins growth award

The Baltimore office of the Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton insurance brokerage has been named the first HRH Diamond Award winner for its 2001 growth achievements.

The firm reported that it successfully met the corporate award's criteria of a minimum 8 percent increase in total core revenue growth over 2000, a minimum 15 percent increase in operating profit over 2000 and an operating profit margin of at least 28 percent.

Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton, based in Richmond, Va., is ranked the 10th-largest insurance brokerage firm in the world. The Baltimore office employs more than 100 people.

Rockville software maker reports higher earnings

Visual Networks Inc., a Rockville software company, said yesterday that its earnings increased even as revenue went down for the first quarter, which ended March 31.

The company reported net income of $878,000, or 3 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with a net loss of $7.6 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue was $17 million, compared with $17.4 million for the year-ago quarter.

Elsewhere

Major airlines reverse course on $20 fare increase

After increasing leisure fares by $20 round-trip late last week, several of the nation's major airlines reversed course yesterday, and their rivals were expected to follow.

Continental Airlines, which initiated the fare increase Thursday night, abandoned it yesterday, as did America West, American, Delta, United and US Airways, said Tom Parsons, chief executive of Bestfares.com.

As usual, Continental probably was influenced by Northwest Airlines, which by Sunday hadn't matched the fare increase across-the-board, as the other carriers had. Northwest has routinely been the spoiler in several fare increase attempts by other airlines over the past several years.

Intel Corp. agrees to pay $300 million to settle suit

Chip-making giant Intel Corp. has agreed to pay $300 million to settle a lawsuit claiming its Pentium microprocessors infringed on patents owned by Intergraph Corp.

Under the deal announced yesterday, Intergraph's long-running federal suit against Intel in Alabama will be dismissed and potential damages against Intel in another case pending in Texas will be capped. The companies also signed a cross-licensing agreement, and Intergraph agreed to sell undisclosed patents to Intel.

Intergraph had been seeking damages of $2.2 billion for patent infringement and $300 million for violations of state laws. A claim of antitrust violations by Intel was dismissed last year.

Intel will take a charge of about $150 million in its first-quarter earnings, which are scheduled to be released today.

GE to eliminate 7,000 jobs at its financial division

General Electric Co. said yesterday that it plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs this year at GE Capital as it seeks to cut costs by $1 billion at the financial services division.

The cuts represent slightly more than 2 percent of GE's work force of 310,000.

A spokesman said the job cuts were not related to recent criticism of the company's finances or its first-quarter earnings report last week. GE Capital has previously cut its work force by 19,000 since the second half of 2000, he said.

Settlement may be offered in Merrill Lynch probe

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer might settle his investigation of claims of conflicts of interest by Merrill Lynch stock analysts, a Spitzer spokeswoman said yesterday.

"There appears to be a basis for productive discussion," said spokeswoman Juanita Scarlett. "The attorney general would like to resolve the matter through negotiations."

She declined to confirm or deny that the settlement could cost Merrill Lynch $100 million, as reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday. The newspaper cited unidentified senior officials at the firm.

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