Business Digest


April 05, 2005

In The Region

NeighborCare suitor, Omnicare, provides data to regulators

Omnicare Inc., the Kentucky company making a hostile take-over bid for Baltimore-based NeighborCare Inc., said yesterday that it had completed sending information about the proposed deal to federal antitrust regulators.

Omnicare said it has agreed with the Federal Trade Commission that it will not attempt to complete the deal for at least 55 days. A thumbs-down from the regulators would scuttle the deal. If the regulators find the combination would not violate antitrust rules, Omnicare still has to persuade NeighborCare's board, which has resisted the $30-a-share bid for a year so far, or 80 percent of its shareholders.

Omnicare has said it will begin proxy fights to replace members of NeighborCare's board. Since board terms are staggered, it would take at least two years for Omnicare to change the control of NeighborCare's board. Some analysts have predicted the battle would end with NeighborCare's board agreeing to a higher price.

Northrop to inspect wings of Navy Orion P-3C planes

The wings of six Navy planes will be inspected for structural fatigue at Northrop Grumman's Hagerstown facility under a contract announced yesterday by the defense contractor.

The six are from the Navy's fleet of about 225 Orion P-3C aircraft and will be inspected by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, a spokesman for the defense contractor said. A number of the aircraft are either grounded or flying under heavy performance restrictions as they await the inspection, the company said.

Financial terms of the contract were not released. The work will be conducted under a prime contract awarded to ARINC Inc., Northrop said. The planes were made by Lockheed Corp. from the 1960s to 1990.

AAI buys British maker of pilot simulators

AAI Corp., the Hunt Valley maker of unmanned aerial surveillance craft used in the Iraq war, acquired England's ESL Defence Ltd. yesterday, paying $10 million for the electronic warfare systems company.

ESL designs and produces military simulators that train pilots for combat and test in-flight self-protection measures.

AAI expects the acquisition to help it become a global supplier of military aircraft equipment. It has seen its sales rise substantially as the Bush administration embraces new military technologies.

Jos. A. Bank expects 29% rise in 4Q earnings

Men's apparel retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers reported preliminary results yesterday for fiscal 2004 which show that its earnings rose 29 percent in the fourth quarter to 88 cents per share, from 68 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2003.

For the year, earnings rose 47 percent to $1.72 per share, compared with $1.17 per share in fiscal 2003.

The Hampstead chain said fourth-quarter net income increased 32 percent to $12.6 million, compared with $9.5 million in the fourth quarter a year earlier. For the fiscal year, net income jumped 50 percent to $24.5 million, compared with net income of $16.3 million in fiscal 2003.

Milne succeeds Booth on MedImmune board

MedImmune Inc. said yesterday that George M. Milne Jr., a retired Pfizer Inc. executive, has joined its board of directors as the seventh member.

Milne replaces Melvin D. Booth, who retired in January from positions as the company's president and chief operating officer, and is now retiring from the board after seven years of service. Booth will join MedImmune Ventures Inc., an investment arm of the Gaithersburg biotechnology business.

Md. drugmaker seeks OK of FDA on bowel treatment

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Bethesda has filed a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration for its constipation treatment "lubiprostone," a compound shown to increase intestinal fluid secretion and soften stool.

The application, filed last week, is the last step required before bringing the drug to market. If it's accepted, this would be the first drug Sucampo has commercialized, though it has several other candidates in the pipeline, including a treatment for cystic fibrosis and liver diseases.

Biotech firm ProteinOne relocates to Bethesda

ProteinOne said yesterday that the 15-person company has relocated to offices in Bethesda from a technology incubator program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The March 21st move puts the 4 1/2 -year-old business, which mass produces "purified proteins" for others to use when developing new therapies and diagnostic tests, closer to its biggest customer - the National Institutes of Health - as well as dozens of other biotechnology businesses along Montgomery County's Interstate-270 corridor, the state's biotech hub.


Amazon buys firm that publishes books upon demand Inc. has acquired a publishing company that prints books when they're ordered rather than relying on warehouses stocked with titles, the online retailer said yesterday. Terms were not disclosed.

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