Business Digest


December 10, 2004

In The Region

MuniMae cofounder to step down Jan. 1 as chief executive

Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC said yesterday that longtime Chief Executive Officer Mark K. Joseph, architect of one of Baltimore's most successful but lowest-profile financial-services companies, will step down Jan. 1.

Joseph, who co-founded MuniMae in 1996, will be succeeded by Michael L. Falcone, the other co-founder, who currently is MuniMae's president and chief operating officer. Joseph will continue as chairman of the board and remain active in the business.

MuniMae said its board of directors had approved Falcone's appointment.

Joseph noted that in the past eight years, MuniMae's dividend payout has increased for 31 straight quarters and its assets under management have grown to more than $9 billion.

Air Cargo to cease operations, sell assets

Air Cargo Inc., the air freight logistics company based in Annapolis, said yesterday that it would wind down all operations this month and seek to sell its product lines and assets.

The news comes two days after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. A company official said at that time that Air Cargo would seek to continue offering some services to its airline customers, but would immediately cease its main business that managed the ground transportation of airlines' freight.

Doug Faber, president and chief executive, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday that the company's cash will last through Jan. 7. The final day for the company's 80 employees is not yet determined, he said.

Allegheny Energy counsel resigns, to get $5.6 million

Allegheny Energy Inc., a Pennsylvania utility owner formerly based in Hagerstown, said yesterday that General Counsel David B. Hertzog resigned and will be paid $5.6 million under a severance agreement.

The agreement was "mutual and amicable" and didn't relate to any negative legal or business developments at the company, chief executive Paul Evanson said in a telephone interview. The general counsel served just 17 months of a five-year contract.

Hertzog, 60, joined Allegheny in July 2003, when the company had fallen behind on financial filings and faced investor concerns about its ability to avoid bankruptcy. The utility owner has since caught up on its filings, and its stock price has more than doubled. Much of Hertzog's severance package related to gains in the value of stock grants, Evanson said.

Martek Biosciences reports 4Q profit of $35.3 million

Martek Biosciences Corp. yesterday reported net income of $35.3 million, or $1.16 per fully diluted share, for its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with net income of $6.2 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

The Columbia-based company, which extracts from cultivated algae nutrients that go into 70 percent of all U.S. infant formula, said it had net income of 33 cents per share excluding a one-time tax benefit of $25.2 million.

For all of fiscal 2004, and including the tax benefit, Martek's net income was $47 million, or $1.55 per fully diluted share, compared with net income of $16 million, or 58 cents per fully diluted share, for fiscal 2003.

D.C. real estate firm to add office space next to BWI

A Washington real estate company said yesterday that it will develop about 400,000 square feet of Class A office space and possibly 100,000 square feet of retail next to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, an expansion of a project that already included a planned 280-room Hilton Hotel.

The Buccini/Pollin Group Inc., which buys, manages and develops real estate, said the hotel is expected to open in early 2006. It plans to begin construction on the office portion of the 27-acre property in the middle of next year. It expects to build some retail there and is considering a freestanding retail building with a health club as an anchor.

The project, which will be built off the extension of Elm Road, is called BWI Hilton Park.

BCSB Bankcorp posts earnings of $265,000

BCSB Bankcorp said yesterday that it earned $265,000 in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of $44,000 a year earlier.

However, the Baltimore-based thrift holding company, the parent of Baltimore County Savings Bank, said its full-year profit declined 32 percent to $855,000, from $1.3 million a year earlier, as income from loans fell.

The company, which has $773.6 million in assets and 15 branches in the Baltimore area, said loans and mortgage-backed securities rose 11.4 percent in the year to $557 million, and deposits increased 5.2 percent to $580.6 million.


Federal judge sends suit against Grasso back to N.Y. court

The lawsuit against former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso over his controversial $187.5 million pay package has been sent back to state court after a federal judge in New York ruled that it should not be heard in U.S. District Court.

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