Business Digest


July 12, 2005

In the Region

Harbor Duvall buys printing firm, gains access to metro D.C.

Harbor Duvall Graphics of Baltimore said yesterday that it has acquired Bel Jean Printing of Beltsville, creating a company with 30 employees and more than $5 million in annual sales.

Terms of the acquisition, which became final June 1, were not disclosed. Harbor Duvall owner Mike Duvall said the deal gives the company an entry into the metropolitan Washington market. No employee has lost his job as a result of the transaction.

Bel Jean has printed course materials for the University of Maryland, College Park. Its market includes Beltsville, College Park and Silver Spring. Harbor Duvall specializes in printing full-color marketing materials and manuals.

UM medical school forms partnership with biotech

The University of Maryland's School of Medicine announced a partnership yesterday with Acceptys Inc., a Pennsylvania company focused on treatments for cancer and infectious diseases, to study the human response to illnesses, including pneumonia.

The collaboration is partially financed by a $100,000 grant from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program. The grant will be used to pay participating faculty. The partnership is expected to lead to new therapies and vaccines for treating patients with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly.

As a condition of the relationship, Acceptys will set up shop in the biotech business park that the medical school is developing on Baltimore's west side.

20,000 Aether shares are given to charity

A longtime Aether Systems Inc. board member yesterday gave away 20,000 shares in the company, which last year left the technology business to go into mortgage-backed securities investment.

In an insider transaction filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, J. Carter Beese Jr. said he donated 16,000 Aether shares, worth $55,040 at yesterday's $3.44 closing price, to St. Thomas Church, and another 4,600 shares, worth $15,824, to the United Way. The filing said Beese still owns or has options to buy 244,000 Aether shares.


$356 million set aside to cover Enron pensions

Enron Corp. employees whose retirement plans vanished when the company imploded may be getting some compensation as the result of a settlement announced yesterday by the Labor Department, which sued Enron in 2003 on behalf of the company's employees.

Labor officials said about $356 million will be set aside out of proceeds from the sale of Enron's assets to cover some of the lost retirement and pension benefits. The settlement resolves the lawsuit, which alleged that Enron mismanaged its retirement and pension plans by relying on its stocks to support them and did nothing to protect workers from losses, the officials said.

The agreement is subject to approval from the New York Bankruptcy and Texas district courts, and does not settle separate Labor Department claims against Enron founder Kenneth L. Lay and former CEO Jeffrey K. Skilling.

Database clears workers of major breach in Sept.

ChoicePoint Inc.'s chief screener said yesterday that no employees were involved in a major breach last fall of the company's database of personal information.

Carol A. DiBattiste, who took over as ChoicePoint's head credentialing, compliance and privacy officer in May, told the Associated Press that while she hasn't been involved in the company's investigation of the breach, other executives have told her that no employee contributed to what happened.

Thieves posing as small business customers gained access to ChoicePoint's database, possibly compromising the personal information of 145,000 Americans. The breach was found in late September, but not disclosed publicly until mid-February.

ChoicePoint collects data on individuals, including Social Security numbers, real estate holdings and current and former addresses. It has about 19 billion records, and its customers include insurance companies, financial institutions and federal, state and local agencies.

China vows crackdown on pirated goods, U.S. says

Responding to U.S. pleas, Chinese officials agreed yesterday to prosecute more people accused of product piracy, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said.

Washington has been pushing China for years to stamp out a thriving industry in pirated goods that it says costs legitimate Chinese and foreign producers billions of dollars a year in lost potential sales.

Illegal copies of goods ranging from the latest Hollywood movies to Japanese pop music and European designer fashions are widely available in Chinese shops despite repeated promises to crack down.

Gutierrez said China would station a diplomat in its Washington embassy to handle product piracy complaints.

PriceWaterhouse to pay U.S. $41.9 million to settle suit

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest accounting firms, has agreed to pay $41.9 million to settle claims that it overbilled the federal government for travel over 11 years, the Justice Department said yesterday.

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