In the regionUnited Payors says it will...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In the region

United Payors says it will lease more space in Rockville

United Payors & United Providers Inc. said yesterday that it would lease an additional 80,000 square feet of office space adjacent to its corporate offices in Rockville.

Tom Blair, UP&UP;'s chairman and major stockholder, said the additional space is needed to accommodate the company's growth, with its work force expanding from less than a dozen employees in early 1996 to more than 650 now.

UP&UP; serves as an intermediary between insurance companies and health care providers.

Kane becomes president of Baltimore-area Realtors

Patrick J. Kane, vice president and general manager for Coldwell Banker Grempler Realty Inc. in Towson, was installed yesterday as president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Also installed as officers for the 3,000-member trade organization were Patrick T. Welsh of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA as president-elect; Alan R. Ingraham of MNC Mortgage as vice president; and Jan W. Hayden of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA as treasurer.

Kane, who has 23 years in the industry, succeeds Marc Witman of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Big Mac containers too brittle, recalled

Baltimore-based EarthShell Corp. said yesterday that it had to pull its biodegradable Big Mac containers from 30 McDonald's outlets in Las Vegas after a test run last month found the containers to be too brittle. The company said the problem was caused by random perforations of the inner sleeves and that officials are confident they will find a solution.

EarthShell, which has a joint-venture agreement with Sweetheart Cup Co. Inc. to produce the containers for McDonald's Corp., said the product is still being used in two Chicago stores and two Baltimore stores. The packaging disintegrates in water, is biodegradable and recyclable through composting.

Shares of EarthShell closed down 62.5 cents yesterday at $3.125.

Union National earnings up 35.4% in third quarter

Union National Bancorp Inc. of Westminster reported third-quarter earnings of $874,559 yesterday, up 35.4 percent over last year's third quarter.

After the three months that ended Sept. 30, total assets stood at $309 million, reflecting a 10.6 percent increase over the year-ago period. Total deposits grew 7.4 percent, reaching $228.3 million, and net loans grew 8.8 percent to $174.5 million.

Union National Bank, the wholly owned affiliate of Union National Bancorp, operates nine full-service offices in Carroll County. It plans to open its 10th, in Taneytown, early next year.

Defense Logistics Agency gives Radix $2 million pact

Radix II of Oxon Hill said yesterday that it won a four-year, $2 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency to upgrade and maintain a voice-response supply system for the Department of Defense.

The 26-year-old company will manage 19 Defense Supply Expert Systems around the country for all branches of the military.

Radix has handled similar work for the Defense Logistics Agency for a decade.

Elsewhere

DaimlerChrysler surprises analysts with 14% profit rise

DaimlerChrysler AG surprised Wall Street analysts yesterday with third-quarter earnings well above expectations, thanks to vigorous sales of Chrysler trucks and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.

The U.S.-German company said its earnings were up 14 percent in the third quarter to $1.6 billion, or $1.65 a share, after adjustments for one-time charges and gains. That compares with $1.41 billion, or $1.45 a share, in the third quarter a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street estimates of $1.39 a share, and followed robust profits from Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. DaimlerChrysler said it expects strong growth in profits and revenue for the year as well.

Mitsubishi Motors to cut 9,900 workers

Struggling Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said yesterday that it plans to slash its global work force by 11 percent, cutting 9,900 workers from its payroll by March 2004.

The announcement comes on the heels of several other cost-cutting plans by corporate Japan. Nissan Motor Co., now 37 percent owned by France's Renault SA, said this month that it would trim 21,000 employees worldwide, or about 14 percent of its work force.

Hit with poor sales in Japan and the rest of Asia, Mitsubishi posted its first-ever loss on a group basis in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 1998. The company then began restructuring and rebounded to a slight profit the following fiscal year. In fiscal 1998, the company cut 2,500 jobs.

US Airways firms up orders for jets from Airbus

US Airways Group said it firmed up existing orders with Airbus Industrie for 30 single-aisle planes and three long-range A330s, bringing to 154 the number of single-aisle jets for which it has placed firm orders and raising its number of A330s on order to 10.

The single-aisle planes are a combination of A319s and A320s, the Arlington, Va.-based carrier said. The move represents planes with a value of about $1.7 billion based on list prices.

The deal comes as Airbus makes strides in its competition with Boeing Co. Air France said yesterday that it would buy eight Airbus jets, giving the European plane maker its fifth success against Boeing this month, including orders from customers British Airways PLC, Frontier Airlines, America West and the government of China.

No defense mergers now, U.S. tells European allies

The United States has told its European allies that it is too early for trans-Atlantic "mega-mergers" in the defense industry, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Spokesman Ken Bacon said the message was delivered at a dinner Monday night in Washington attended by U.S., British, French and German government weapons procurement officials and major arms manufacturers.

While Pentagon officials signaled earlier this year that they were interested in such deals, Bacon said the message Monday night was that Europe needs to learn more about the merger process, as the United States has done. Bacon explained that the "regulatory and security infrastructure" is not yet in place to ensure that such mergers would be secure.

Andreessen start-up targets Internet businesses

Web pioneer Marc Andreessen is launching a start-up that will help other companies build Internet businesses, his first major venture since leaving America Online Inc. last month.

Andreessen, the 28-year-old co-founder of Netscape Communications, formed the new company, called Loudcloud Inc., with a group of other Internet professionals from Netscape, Cisco Systems Inc., InfoSeek and other Web-related businesses.

Loudcloud will supply "technology and services high-growth Internet companies need to compete and win," Andreessen said yesterday. The company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., said it would disclose more details early next year.

MTV Networks launches Nickelodeon Online

To capture what it dubbed "kidvergence," Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks launched an Internet-only company yesterday called Nickelodeon Online, pulling together all of the Web sites connected to the children's cable television channel.

Nickelodeon Online is headed by Nickelodeon veteran Taran Swan, and features such existing Internet sites as Nick.Com for 6-to 14-year-olds; Nickjr.com for preschoolers; and Nick-at-Nite.Com and TVland.Com (www.nickatnite.com), designed for TV fans.

Gas.Nick.Com is a games and sports site; Teachers.Nick.Com is for classroom teachers; and Red-rocket.Com is a toy store developed by Nick Online.

In addition, myNick, a component of www.nick.com, offers an array of interactive experiences designed for children.

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