Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 27, 2007|By Staff Reports

Maryland : Acquisitions

Coventry makes $120 million deal

Coventry Health Care Inc. said yesterday it is buying part of Mutual of Omaha's health insurance business for $120 million in cash. Coventry, which has about 4 million members, will acquire 115,000 new federal employee members, generating $30 million a year in fees, and 100,000 members in Nebraska and Iowa group accounts, generating $100 million in annual revenue. Coventry has about 4 million members and revenue last year of $7.7 billion. Coventry, which operates HMOs in about a dozen markets across the country, already has a Nebraska-Iowa plan, and said it would offer jobs to about 400 Mutual of Omaha employees, who will remain at their current locations. Coventry has been growing by acquisition, including a February deal in which it bought the workers' compensation managed-care business of Texas-based Concentra Inc. for $387.5 million.

M. William Salganik

Earnings

Laureate Education loss widens

Laureate Education Inc., the operator of online and foreign universities that's facing stockholder opposition to a proposed buyout, said yesterday that its first-quarter loss widened to $11.2 million from $3.2 million a year ago. Including charges related to an accounting change for minority share ownership purchase agreements, the Baltimore company said loss from continuing operations was $26.4 million, or 51 cents per share, compared with a loss of $3.3 million, or 6 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 21 percent to $284 million from $235 million last year. Laureate agreed in January to a $3.8 billion buyout led by its chief executive officer.

Hanah Cho

Visicu net income nearly $2 million

Income for the first quarter for Visicu Inc. was more than six times as much as in the first quarter of 2006, the company reported yesterday. The Baltimore developer of remote monitoring systems for intensive care units posted earnings of just under $2 million, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter that ended March 31, compared with $314,000, or 1 cent a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue was $8.7 million, up 31 percent from $6.7 million in the year-earlier quarter.

M. William Salganik

Omega Healthcare doubles its profit

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc., a real estate trust based in Timonium, reported earnings yesterday of $18.2 million, or 30 cents a share, for the quarter that ended March 31, more than double the $7.7 million, or 13 cents a share, earned in the first quarter of 2006. Revenue was $42.7 million, up 33.1 percent from $32.1 million in the year-earlier period. Funds from operations, a key measure for REITs, were 42 cents a share, up from 27 cents a share in the earlier quarter. Omega owns or leases more than 200 nursing homes, which are operated under contract by other companies.

M. William Salganik

Biotechnology

Spherix to sell reservations unit

Spherix Inc., a Beltsville company with a split personality, said yesterday that it planned to sell a division that takes reservations for state parks to concentrate on its biotechnology side, specifically commercializing Naturlose, an artificial sweetener that the company is testing as a treatment for diabetes. Terms were not disclosed, though Spherix said it intended to use the proceeds to help pay for late-stage Naturlose clinical trials, and it expects the transaction to close by autumn.

Tricia Bishop

Micros Systems net income up 25%

Micros Systems Inc., which makes technology for the retail and hospitality industries, increased profit and revenue in its fiscal third quarter, ending March 31. Income was $3.9 million, up 25 percent, to $19.5 million. Revenue rose $29.4 million, or 17 percent, to $200.6 million. The Columbia company said it expected annual revenue of $778 million to $781 million and profit of about $79.3 million.

Tricia Bishop

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