Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 06, 2004

In The Region

Sinclair Broadcast earns $20 million vs. loss in 2Q last year

Political advertising and new business initiatives lifted Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s second-quarter net income to $20.2 million, compared with a loss of $1.9 million in the quarter last year.

The Hunt Valley company said its net broadcast revenue was $179.9 million for the three months that ended June 30, an increase of 2.9 percent over the $174.9 million reported in the second quarter last year. Diluted income per share was 24 cents, compared with a loss of 2 cents per share a year earlier.

Political advertising contributed $4.1 million in revenue and new business initiatives added $7.2 million, the company said.

Sinclair also declared its first dividend, 10 cents per share.

Corvis narrows 2Q loss as sales rise fivefold

Corvis Corp. said yesterday that its losses narrowed as revenue increased fivefold for the second quarter.

The company reported revenue of $142.1 million for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $27 million for the second quarter last year. Most of Corvis' revenue came from its subsidiary, telecommunications firm Broadwing Communications.

The Columbia-based telecommunications equipment provider said its net loss was $38.1 million, or 8 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with a net loss of $45.8 million, or 11 cents per share for the second quarter of 2003.

Mirant loses appeal in bid to void Pepco contracts

Pepco Holdings Inc. said yesterday that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has denied Mirant Corp.'s request to reject contracts obligating the company to buy power from Pepco and sent the case back to U.S. District Court.

The opinion found that District Court has jurisdiction to rule on Mirant's attempt to reject the contacts.

Mirant, which sought bankruptcy protection a year ago, has said in bankruptcy filings that the electricity purchases at fixed prices above current levels are draining tens of millions of dollars per month from the company. Mirant also is seeking to renegotiate contracts to sell power to Pepco.

Pepco, which owns a Washington, D.C., utility and serves Maryland customers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, sold power plants and power supply contracts to Mirant in June 2000 for $2.65 billion.

Decontamination firm reports 51% rise in sales

TVI Corp. reported second-quarter income yesterday of $1.7 million, or 5.7 cents per fully diluted share. That was an improvement over net income of $1.2 million, or 4.2 cents per fully diluted share, earned in the quarter last year.

The Glenn Dale maker of rapid-deployment shelters and chemical- and biological-decontamination systems said its sales were $10.2 million, up 51 percent from the $6.8 million in revenue for the second quarter last year.

GenVec loses 9 cents per share, down from 26 cents in 2Q of '03

GenVec Inc. reported yesterday a second-quarter net loss of $4.8 million, or 9 cents a share, results that were slightly better than the net loss of $6 million, or 26 cents a share, for the comparable quarter in 2003.

The Gaithersburg biotechnology company said its revenue was $3.2 million for the quarter, up from $2.5 million in the year-ago period.

Elsewhere

75% of grapes used in Napa Valley wine must be from county

Wines labeled as being from California's Napa Valley must contain grapes mostly from the region, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a victory for local wineries, including two owned by Diageo PLC.

The court reinstated a 4-year-old California law that says when the word "Napa" appears on a label, at least 75 percent of the grapes must be from Napa County. Bronco Wine Co., which sells wines called Napa Ridge and Napa Creek made from grapes grown in other parts of the state, had challenged the law.

The ruling is a boon for 250 Napa Valley wineries, including Diageo's Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyard. The wineries charge higher prices because of the perceived quality of fruit grown in the county. The region's crop was worth more than $384 million last year, according to the Napa Valley Vintners, a trade group.

Virgin Atlantic signs orders for 13 Airbus jets

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd has signed firm orders for 13 new A340 passenger jets from European aircraft maker Airbus SAS and has options on 13 more, both companies said yesterday.

In the deal, which Virgin said was worth more than $5.5 billion, the airline will start taking deliveries of the 306-seat A340-600s in 2006. The orders are part of an expansion drive under way by Virgin, which currently owns 29 planes.

The deal is a major blow to Airbus' U.S. rival Boeing Co., which had offered its midsize twin-engine 777 jet to the British carrier.

Sony Music, BMG combine businesses

Sony Music Entertainment and BMG, the music unit of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, said yesterday that they have formally combined their music businesses. The new company, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, will rival Vivendi's Universal Music Group for market share.

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