Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 02, 2002

In the Region

New owner plans no change for health supply firm

American Homecare Supply LLC, the Pennsylvania parent of Mid Atlantic Health Care of Owings Mills, has been acquired by Air Products, a Fortune 500 company also based in Pennsylvania, the companies said yesterday.

Bob Cucuel, chief executive officer of American Homecare, said there would " be no change" in the operations of Mid Atlantic, an 11-year-old subsidiary with 140 employees. Mid Atlantic, which also has an office in Beltsville, supplies respiratory therapy, infusion therapy and home medical equipment. It was acquired by American Homecare in 1999.

Air Products paid $165 million for privately held American Homecare.

FDA is given more data on Digene's cervical test

Digene Corp. said yesterday that it has provided more information to the Food and Drug Administration to address the agency's questions about its test for cervical cancer.

Gaithersburg-based Digene has applied to market the gene-based test in conjunction with the Pap test as a primary screen for cervical cancer in women 30 and older. The test has been approved in the United States only as a secondary test to check or clarify Pap test results.

Digene filed the additional information in an application amendment. Chief Executive Officer Evan Jones said the company thinks the information is enough to allow the FDA to approve its application.

Elsewhere

Hathaway, nation's last major maker of shirts, to close

C.F. Hathaway Co., the nation's last major manufacturer of men's dress shirts, plans to shut its doors this month.

A spokeswoman for the Windsong Allegiance Apparel Group in Westport, Conn., which bought Hathaway last year, said yesterday that the company's factory in Waterville, Maine, will close about Oct. 18. The plant has more than 200 employees.

The 165-year-old shirt company, made famous by the logo depicting the man with the eye patch, seemed likely to close five years ago before a local investment group financed a bailout. It was again near collapse last fall when Windsong bought the company and announced plans to revitalize its flagging brand, but less than six month later the buyer said it would close the company.

Bondholder wins stake in privately held Huntsman

Huntsman Corp. has agreed to convert about $775 million of outstanding debt into an equity position for its largest bondholder, Matlin Patterson Global Opportunities Partners, in a move that should stabilize the company's finances.

The deal marks the first time an outsider has taken a major stake in the world's largest privately held chemical company, although the Huntsman family retains majority control over Huntsman Corp., Huntsman Polymers and Huntsman International Holdings.

Matlin Patterson Global, a private investment group, gets two seats out of nine on Huntsman Corp.'s board of directors. The private investment group had held 82 percent of Huntsman Corp.'s and Huntsman Polymers Corp.'s outstanding bonds.

Verizon executive named Citigroup operating officer

Citigroup Inc. named telecommunications executive Michael T. Masin yesterday as its chief operating officer, reaching outside for help in restoring the largest financial company's reputation in the wake of conflict-of-interest investigations.

Also, Citigroup Chairman Sanford I. Weill said he will give up seats on the boards of AT&T Corp. and United Technologies Corp., two companies whose chief executives serve on the bank's board. Masin will resign as president of Verizon Communications Inc. and step down from Citigroup's board, the bank said.

Weill is shuffling top management to help resolve allegations Citigroup hyped research and doled out initial public offering shares to win underwriting business. Last month, Weill replaced the head of the Salomon Smith Barney investment banking unit with former General Counsel Charles O. Prince III, giving him orders to settle investigations that have contributed to a 34 percent drop in the bank's shares this year.

AT&T's Bernard to succeed Dorman as president

AT&T Corp. named Betsy Bernard head of its AT&T Business unit yesterday and said she will succeed David W. Dorman as president after the company's cable arm completes its merger with Comcast Corp., the broadband-cable network giant.

AT&T said Bernard, who returned to AT&T 17 months ago as head of its consumer long-distance unit, will oversee the AT&T Business unit, which has more than 4 million business customers, and the company's network-services group, international ventures and AT&T Labs.

In mid-July, AT&T said Dorman would succeed Chairman and Chief Executive C. Michael Armstrong once the merger closes, likely by the end of the year. Armstrong will become chairman of the newly merged AT&T Comcast cable business then.

Up to 295 new stores planned by Wal-Mart in '03

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said yesterday that it plans to add up to 165 new stores next year and to expand or relocate about 170 U.S. properties, as it continues its aggressive expansion.

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