Business Digest


October 04, 2002

In the Region

Wind turbine maker is sought to occupy former PPG factory

State economic development officials hope to persuade a modern windmill manufacturer to occupy an empty factory in Allegany County.

A wind turbine manufacturing plant could employ 800 to 1,000 people, said House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., an Allegany Democrat. Taylor said Department of Business and Economic Development staffers were in Tokyo this week, discussing the possibility with representatives from Mitsubishi Corp.

Secretary David Iannucci and other DBED officials also are marketing the former PPG Industries complex at the North Branch Industrial Park to Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa, Taylor said.

Black & Decker cutting jobs in England

Black & Decker Corp. said yesterday that it is cutting about 550 positions at its Spennymoor plant in northeast England as part of the restructuring it announced in January. An additional 400 temporary jobs will be eliminated.

The reductions are expected to be complete by the end of next year. About 450 workers will remain at the plant, which makes drills, grass cutters and a range of other products.

The Towson-based toolmaker said earlier in the year that it plans to eliminate about 2,400 jobs in "high cost" regions, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, and move production to lower-cost plants in China, Mexico and the Czech Republic.

Nellis Corp. purchases building in Columbia

Nellis Corp., the Rockville investment company that recently bought the Bank of America building in downtown Baltimore, has also closed on a 126,000-square-foot building in Columbia, said Mark Schall, senior vice president of National Real Estate Brokerage Inc.

The price for the building, at 10227 Wincopin Circle, was not disclosed. The property's assessed value is $9.145 million, according to state land records.

The Columbia building, known as the American City Building, is under a long-term lease to the Rouse Co.


Owens Corning sues to retrieve dividends paid big holders

Owens Corning wants its biggest shareholders to give back more than $700 million in stock dividends they received between 1996 and 2000. The company filed lawsuits Wednesday asking for the payouts to be returned by mutual-fund managers and investors who received more than $100,000 in stock dividends during the four-year period.

The suits were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. In total, the company seeks $709 million to help pay off creditors and asbestos victims.

Owens Corning said in court papers that the dividend payments may be fraudulent because the company was insolvent when it paid the money. The Toledo building supply maker filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2000 because of rising costs from asbestos lawsuits.

Credentials `misstated,' Veritas executive resigns

Veritas Software Corp. said yesterday that Kenneth E. Lonchar resigned as executive vice president and chief financial officer, after the company learned he had "misstated" his educational credentials.

Veritas, a maker of storage-management software, said it recently uncovered that Lonchar had incorrectly claimed to have received an MBA from Stanford University.

Lonchar said he believes that his resignation is in the best interests of all. Jay A. Jones, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, has assumed the role of acting chief financial officer.

Hitachi and Mitsubishi to form chip company

Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said yesterday that they will merge several of their semiconductor operations into a new company in an attempt to boost profitability.

Renesas Technology Corp. will be formed in April next year, Hitachi and Mitsubishi said in a joint statement.

Renesas will be capitalized at 50 billion yen ($409.84 million), with Hitachi kicking in 55 percent and Mitsubishi 45 percent. The new company is to have 27,200 workers.

EMC announces layoffs, lowers earnings outlook

EMC Corp. said yesterday that it will lay off 1,350 employees, or 7 percent of its work force, and the data storage giant also lowered its earnings outlook in the face of a technology spending slump.

The company said its work force will total 17,000 people after the cuts. EMC laid off more than 4,000 workers last year as spending on its high-end data storage hardware and software plummeted.

Microsoft pursuer joining ChevronTexaco as counsel

Assistant Attorney General Charles James, who led the Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., is leaving government to become chief legal counsel at ChevronTexaco.

James, 48, will join ChevronTexaco effective Dec. 9, and will be on the company's six-member executive committee.

Taking over as head of the department's antitrust division in June last year, James was instrumental in forging a proposed settlement of antitrust charges against the software company late last year. The Justice Department's move to settle the antitrust case represented a sharp change in the course of the long-running lawsuit.

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