Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 03, 2002

In the Region

Igen says sales in quarter rose 28% to $4.6 million

Igen International Inc. said yesterday that it had product sales of $4.6 million in its fiscal second quarter, a 28 percent increase from the corresponding period a year ago.

The Gaithersburg maker of diagnostic-testing technology plans to report full financial results for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 after the market closes Oct. 29.

Igen said record sales were driven by growth in its life sciences business, which sells products used by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as sales to the Pentagon of products used in detecting biological agents and food-borne pathogens.

Celera Diagnostics signs deals with two companies

Celera Diagnostics said yesterday that it will work with Laboratory Corporation of America and, separately, Quest Diagnostics Inc., to develop tests for a range of diseases.

Under the Lab Corporation agreement, Celera Diagnostics will study genetic markers that could be useful in diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer. The Quest deal will back Celera's efforts to discover genetic markers that could be useful in diagnosing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In both cases, Celera will become a preferred vendor to the companies for certain molecular diagnostic products. Quest and Lab Corporation each will get exclusive access to genetic markers found to be useful in tests for the diseases covered in their agreements.

Celera Diagnostics, of Alameda, Calif., is a joint venture between Celera Genomics Group of Rockville and its sister company, Applied Biosystems Group of Foster City, Calif.

Elsewhere

Deutsche Telekom to accelerate layoff of 29,500

Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest phone company, said yesterday that it is accelerating a program to cut nearly 30,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its work force, in hopes of reviving earnings.

The number of employees at Telekom's main T-Com German fixed-line business will fall by 7,200 this year. Another 14,000 are to go in 2003. An additional 8,300 jobs will be cut by 2005.

The Bonn-based company previously had planned no more than 10,000 reductions a year under the cost-cutting drive.

The former German state phone monopoly lost a record $3.8 billion in the first half of this year, despite a pretax profit of $1.57 billion at T-Com, and has pledged to sell nonessential assets to reduce debts of $63 billion.

Telekom employed 257,000 people worldwide at the end of last year, including 118,000 at T-Com.

Northwest plans to cut 1,600 flight attendants jobs

Northwest Airlines said yesterday that it plans to cut up to 1,600 flight attendants' jobs because of the continuing slump in the industry since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The carrier asked its flight attendants to take voluntary leaves to reduce their numbers to match its forecast level of flying for this year and next. If enough flight attendants do not take voluntary leaves to reduce the payroll by 1,600 positions, there will be more furloughs, the airline said.

After the attacks, Northwest cut its flight attendant work force using a combination of voluntary short-term leaves and 300 furloughs.

Flight attendants who take temporary leaves of one to 12 months retain their seniority and recall rights and travel benefits, but not company-sponsored health care.

Palm's directors approve 1-for-20 reverse stock split

Palm Inc.'s board of directors approved yesterday a 1-for-20 reverse stock split that will boost the handheld computer maker's sagging stock price.

Under the plan, which was authorized by shareholders at Palm's annual meeting Tuesday, every 20 shares of common stock will be combined into one share. Trading on the reverse-split stock will start Oct. 15.

Palm, whose stock price has plummeted from $100 per share at its March 2000 initial public offering to 65 cents yesterday, has suffered from product rollout glitches, weak demand and stiff competition from Microsoft Corp.

KPMG Consulting changes name to BearingPoint

Business consulting firm KPMG Consulting changed its name yesterday to BearingPoint Inc.

The change will help distinguish the company from the KPMG accounting firm. BearingPoint, based in McLean, Va., split from KPMG LLP in 2001 and is a publicly traded company with 16,000 employees.

The company has traded on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol KCIN. It will move today to the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BE.

Japan's mobile phone giant to write off $4.7 billion

Japan's biggest mobile phone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, said yesterday that it would write off $4.7 billion in losses on its investments in three major foreign partners in the first half of its fiscal year, blaming the weak global telecommunications market.

The largest loss, of $2.76 billion, comes from the company's investment in AT&T Wireless in the United States.

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