Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 03, 2009

Injunction halts lower taxi mileage rates

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has granted a group of Baltimore taxi drivers a temporary injunction to stop the state Public Service Commission from making lower mileage rates effective Sunday, a representative of the group said yesterday. Rates were set to decrease from $2.20 per mile to $1.65 March 1, an automatic adjustment based on a twice-annual review of gas prices in January and July. A flat rate from downtown hotels to BWI Marshall Airport would also decrease from $30 to $22. Two cab companies have petitioned the PSC, which regulates taxi rates in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Cumberland, to keep mileage rates the same. The court injunction will remain in place until commissioners hear the case March 25, said driver Goitom Gebre-Ab. Gas prices are down, but cab drivers say other expenses have increased, including insurance, association dues and maintenance. The current $2.20-per-mile rate has been in effect since September, an increase of 20 cents based on a July gas price assessment. He and other drivers said that other jurisdictions have recently increased rates, such as Anne Arundel County. Council members there recently approved increased mileage rates from $2 per mile to $2.50, said Anne Hatcher, chief of licensing in the county's Department of Licensing and Permits. That was the first increase since 2006, she said.

Liz F. Kay

Martek reaches pact with Rice Field Corp.

Martek Biosciences Corp. said yesterday that it agreed to a supply accord with Rice Field Corp., an Asian specialty food company. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the deal, Martek will provide its blend of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid, which are fatty acids present in human breast milk, for infant formula products manufactured by Rice Field. The Columbia maker of nutritional oils for foods and baby formula also will provide its docosahexaenoic acid blend for Rice Field's products for pregnant and nursing women, which will be sold under the Prodigy brand in China.

Hanah Cho

FTI consulting income up in fourth quarter

Baltimore business advisory firm FTI Consulting Inc. said yesterday that fourth-quarter net income rose 1 percent, to $31.2 million, or 58 cents per common share, for the three months that ended Dec. 31. compared with net income of $30.8 million, or 60 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2007. The earnings per share results reflected an increase of 4 percent in weighted average shares outstanding. Revenue rose 15.1 percent to $322.9 million, compared with revenue of $280.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, the company reported. Jack Dunn, FTI's president and chief executive, said the company's consulting business has performed well during the recession.

Lorraine Mirabella

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