Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 15, 2007

Maryland : Investing

Integral Systems announces buyback

Satellite provider Integral Systems Inc. said yesterday that it would pay $27 apiece up to $50 million to buy back as much as 1.85 million shares, or 16.7 percent, of its outstanding common stock. The price represents a premium of 9.5 percent over Monday's closing share price for the Lanham-based company. The tender offer expires at midnight Sept. 11.

Tricia Bishop

Defense

Lockheed wins $23 million pact

Lockheed Martin Corp. won a $23 million contract from the U.S. Navy to provide technical services for Aegis weapon systems on Norway's F310-class frigates. The work includes engineering and configuration management-support services to maintain and enhance the Aegis systems on all five of the F310-class ships, Bethesda-based Lockheed said yesterday. Aegis is built around a four-megawatt radar that can search, track and guide missiles while monitoring more than 100 targets, according to a Navy Web site. The system is now deployed on more than 83 ships with more than 20 more vessels planned, Lockheed said. The company has also supplied Aegis to the United States, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Earnings

Spherix loss grows to $1.7 million

Spherix Inc. said yesterday that its net loss grew along with clinical trial expenses for an artificial sweetener that the company is testing as a diabetes treatment. Loss for the Beltsville company was $1.7 million, or 12 cents per share, for the quarter ending June 30, compared with a profit of $239,000, or 2 cents per share, in the corresponding quarter of 2006. Spherix reported $4 million in revenue from continuing operations and $155,000 in revenue from discontinued operations. According to its annual report, revenue for the second quarter of 2006, when the company was operating state park reservation systems, was $7.6 million.

Tricia Bishop

Wise Metals narrows loss

Baltimore-based Wise Metals Group LLC said yesterday that sales dropped almost 2 percent in the three months ending June 30, compared with the same period last year, but its rate of losses improved. The company, which produces aluminum sheet for beverage and food companies, said sales were $277.8 million in the second quarter. It lost $4.9 million during those three months, compared with a loss of $16.5 million in the second quarter of last year. The company said aluminum sheet order volumes decreased but pricing improved "significantly."

Jamie Smith Hopkins

Media

Tribune says Zell deal is still on

Tribune Co. said its $8.2 billion sale to a group led by billionaire Sam Zell is still on, disputing an analyst's report that said the odds of the deal closing as scheduled are no better than 50-50. Shares of Tribune fell the most in almost five years after Craig Huber of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. cut his earnings estimates for the newspaper publisher and questioned whether the $34-a-share leveraged buyout will happen. The shares recovered after the company's comments. The Zell buyout is backed by lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Tribune's 11 newspapers also include The Sun.

Nation

: Regulation

U.S. details Wild Oats objection

Federal regulators said yesterday that Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to close 30 Wild Oats stores that compete with its own locations if it acquires the smaller rival. Federal Trade Commission lawyers made the claim in a court filing in their lawsuit to block Whole Foods' $565 million acquisition of Wild Oats Markets Inc. on antitrust grounds. A federal judge in Washington is expected to rule soon on an injunction that has derailed the acquisition.

This column was compiled from dispatches by Sun reporters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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