In the RegionGenVec reportsBiobypass has moved to...

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In the Region

GenVec reports

Biobypass has moved to 2nd testing phase

Gaithersburg-based GenVec said yesterday that its experimental product designed to treat heart disease has moved to the second phase of clinical testing, in which scientists will test its effectiveness on a limited pool of people.

The gene-based agent, called Biobypass, is designed to help stimulate new blood-vessel growth in the heart and other tissues affected by inadequate blood flow.

The company said the initial Phase II trial will test Biobypass' effectiveness and safety on about 70 patients who have heart disease but aren't good candidates for bypass surgery.

Allegheny Energy posts 14 a share earnings

Allegheny Energy Inc. reported net earnings for the first quarter of 2000 of $15.9 million, or 14 cents per share, including an extraordinary charge of $70.5 million, or 64 cents per share, that is primarily related to electricity deregulation activities in West Virginia.

The Hagerstown-based company, which operates in Western Maryland as Allegheny Power, posted net earnings of $97.8 million, or 80 cents per share, for the first quarter of 1999. The company also reported revenue for the 2000 quarter of $866.8 million, compared with $689.9 million for the first quarter of 1999.

For the 12 months that ended March 31, the company posted net earnings of $295.8 million, or $2.61 per share, excluding extraordinary charges. In 1999, the company reported year-end earnings of $306.3 million, or $2.50 per share.

Record earnings at Ace Comm Corp.

Ace Comm Corp., a Gaithersburg communications equipment and software company, reported record earnings yesterday of $705,000, or 7 cents per share, for the quarter ending March 31, compared with a loss of $7,000 for the corresponding period a year ago.

Revenue in the quarter rose to $8.1 million, an 11 percent increase over a year ago.

GBMC dedicates high-risk obstetric unit

Greater Baltimore Medical Center dedicated its new, 12-room Mangione High-Risk Obstetric Unit last night.

It is named for the family of Nicholas and Mary Mangione, who donated $500,000. All 34 of their grandchildren were born at GBMC.

A $527,000 state bond also helped finance the unit at the Towson hospital, which has about 5,000 births a year.

Earnings increase at FTI Consulting

Annapolis-based FTI Consulting Inc., a national provider of strategic and litigation-related consulting services, said yesterday that it earned $1.9 million, or 16 cents per fully diluted share, in the quarter ending March 31, compared with $559,000, or 12 cents per fully diluted share, posted for the corresponding period a year ago.

Earnings in this year's first quarter could have been higher on a per-share basis, but the firm took a noncash, after-tax charge of $869,000 related to the retirement of debt in January and boosted its shares outstanding.

Revenue rose 55.1 percent, to $31 million from $20 million in last year's first quarter. The revenue increase was achieved both through improvements in existing businesses and through a recently completed acquisiton.

Axent Technologies earns 5 a share

Axent Technologies Inc. reported net income for the first quarter of fiscal year 2000 of $1.41 million, or 5 cents per share, excluding one-time charges, up from a net loss of $2.16 million, or 8 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Including the special charges, some of which were associated with the acquisitions of Internet Tools Inc. and PassGo, the company had a net income of $33,000, less than a penny per share, in the quarter that ended March 31, up from a net loss of $6.07 million, or 23 cents per share, the previous year. Revenues at the Rockville computer-security software company rose 41 percent to $30.3 million from $21.4 million.

Elsewhere

Restructured

AOL-Time Warner merger is sought

Consumer groups demanded a major restructuring of the proposed America Online-Time Warner merger yesterday, saying the new company could squelch Internet competitors.

The petition filed with the Federal Communications Commission by leading consumer advocates seeks a severing of any ties that would link the two merging businesses with cable or satellite competitors. AOL says consumers stand to gain significantly through the deal. The merged company will accelerate the introduction of super-fast Internet connections delivered over Time Warner's cable lines, AOL spokeswoman Kathy McKiernan said.

Volvo shareholders approve Renault deal

Volvo shareholders approved the purchase of Renault's truck division yesterday even as the company announced a sharp decline in first-quarter earnings.

Shareholders approved without debate Volvo's plans to buy Renault's RVI truck division and its U.S. subsidiary, Mack Trucks Inc., spokesman Mats Edenborg said. The shareholder approval of the $1.6 billion deal came during Volvo's two-hour annual meeting and was largely expected.

The French automaker will get a 15 percent stake in the Swedish automaker, making it Volvo's biggest shareholder under the deal. Renault will buy another 5 percent of Volvo's shares.

17%-20% earnings growth expected by DuPont

DuPont Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles Holliday told shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday that he expects to achieve earnings growth of 17 percent to 20 percent this year.

Holliday said the company was positioning itself for growth in several areas, including increased employee training worldwide, e-business development and investment in research and development, which was up 30 percent in the first quarter.

Lockheed workers OK strike-ending contract

Workers overwhelmingly approved a new contract yesterday that will end a 17-day strike at the plant where Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, builds the popular F-16 fighter aircraft.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 776, representing 2,300 striking machinists at the Fort Worth, Texas, plant said members voted 1,514 to 246 to accept a three-year contract after settling differences over pay and job security.

Toys 'R' Us to close underperforming stores

Toys 'R' Us Inc. said yesterday that it plans to close many of its underperforming international and children's clothing stores this year while opening stores geared to babies and other better-positioned stores overseas.

The Paramus, N.J.-based company operated 1,548 stores as of Jan. 29. It said it would close about 20 of its 205 Kids 'R' Us children's clothing stores, according to its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GE shareholders approve stock split

General Electric shareholders overwhelmingly approved a three-for-one stock split yesterday at the company's annual meeting, held this year in Richmond, Va.

Eleven shareholder proposals were rejected, including one that sought to end the policy of providing outside directors with pension and pay increases and other retirement benefits unless shareholders approve.

Before the meeting, dozens of GE workers and retirees held a protest over pension benefits. They want the company to provide annual cost-of-living increases and make the benefits subject to collective bargaining.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Reuters, the New York Times and Bridge News.

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