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IRE stock spurts after MCI deal $10 million sale of Internet devices


In the biggest deal of its short corporate history, White Marsh-based Information Resource Engineering Inc. sold more than $10 million worth of its Internet security devices to MCI Communications Corp., the company said yesterday.

The deal, which will more than double the 12-year-old company's sales, sent IRE's stock $2.25 higher, to close at $18.625 in Nasdaq trading yesterday.

IRE last month reported selling $2.6 million worth of encryption devices in the first half of 1995, more than triple its sales in the first half of 1994. The company's losses broadened in the same period, though, from $328,000 last year to $347,000 this year.

Over the next two years, IRE said, it will deliver scramblers, pocket modems and electronic "firewalls" designed to stop users of the Internet from breaking into MCI's private computer networks.

Company spokesman Gary McGreal said yesterday that IRE would likely add staff to meet the new order. IRE currently has 50 employees, up from 35 a year ago, he said. And when it completes its already-announced acquisition of Gretag Data Systems AG, of Switzerland, the company will have 100 employees, he said.

Steven Bronson, who follows IRE's stock for Barber & Bronson in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the announcement was important because it gives a corporate stamp of approval to IRE's new Internet security devices.

"The biggest problem on the Internet is that it lacks security," he said, pointing to an announcement earlier in the week that two college students had easily broken the security of a popular World Wide Web browser program.

"This is the start of something very big" for IRE, Mr. Bronson said.

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