Last week's headlines

Legg Mason has first quarterly loss in 25 years

May 11, 2008

MuniMae halts its dividend

Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC, the real estate and alternative energy project financier, said that it is suspending its quarterly dividend as it continues to deal with the fallout from the slumping credit market. The Baltimore company, better known as MuniMae, had reduced its quarterly dividend to 33 cents in January. Since that time, its stock has plunged 77 percent.

Legg loses $255 million

Legg Mason Inc. suffered its first quarterly loss in the public company's 25-year history after spending millions to support several of its money market funds hampered by mortgage-backed debt. The Baltimore asset manager reported a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss of $255.5 million, or $1.81 per diluted share, compared with a net profit of $172.5 million, or $1.19 per diluted share a year ago.

State offices stay on track

Maryland and a team of private developers are pushing ahead with a $1.6 billion redevelopment of the state's 28-acre midtown Baltimore office complex. Plans call for offices, apartments, condos and shops around existing mass transit and a new central plaza. Officials said they hope to start construction by 2010 and that the project will become a model for transit-oriented development.

Severstal closes Point deal

Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal completed Wednesday its $810 million acquisition of the Sparrows Point steel mill from ArcelorMittal with plans to invest significantly in the Baltimore County plant and rev up production. Sparrows Point management and labor expressed excitement and hope that the Severstal deal will shore up the future of the 119-year-old plant.

Magna faces debt deadline

Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, probably will not be able to make as much as $180 million in loan payments due at the end of the month even with the rush of revenue from the Preakness Stakes, Pimlico's biggest moneymaking event. The debt payments underscored Magna's struggles to stay in business amid continuing losses and heavy debt.

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