In the RegionPrime Retail REIT says it...

In the Region

Prime Retail REIT says it won't pay dividends this year


Prime Retail Inc., the troubled owner and operator of outlet malls, said yesterday that it does not expect to pay any dividends this year on either common or preferred stock.

The Baltimore-based real estate investment trust plans to use cash flow from operations to reduce its short-term debt and pay for upkeep and marketing of its outlet shopping centers, said Glenn D. Reschke, chairman. Last year, the company had announced a policy of paying shareholder dividends only to the extent necessary to keep its tax status as a REIT. That policy became part of the terms of a loan of up to $71 million from a real estate fund of Fortress Investment Fund LLC, an equity fund manager. The loan closed in December.


Prime reported a net loss of $9.2 million, or 21 cents per common share for the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, and funds from operations of $13.9 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, down from $26.2 million, or 38 cents per share, in the third quarter of 1999. The company has not said when it will report its fourth-quarter earnings.

Decision next month on F-22 contract

The Pentagon will decide next month whether to award Lockheed Martin Corp. a $2.1 billion contract to produce the first batch of F-22 jet fighters, David Oliver, the Pentagon's top acquisition official, said yesterday.

Investors have worried that the decision might be delayed as the Bush administration studies U.S. tactical aircraft needs as part of a broader review of military forces, strategy and spending.

That review won't affect whether to build the first 10 production models of the stealthy fighter jet, said Oliver, who is the Defense Department's principal deputy for acquisition.

MAMSI extending its stock buyback

Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc., the Rockville health insurer, said yesterday that it is extending its stock buyback program.

Its board of directors authorized another $13.9 million, bringing to $20 million the total authorized for buying shares.


Last year, MAMSI bought back 2.8 million shares for $31.5 million. In January, it bought 504,900 shares for $7.2 million.

2ME2 going to Phase II of prostate cancer trials

EntreMed Inc. said yesterday that it is moving its anti-cancer drug 2ME2 to a second phase of testing in prostate patients and renaming it Panzem.

The Phase II prostate cancer trials of Panzem, also formerly known as 2-methoxyestradiol, will take place at Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin. The drug, which comes in the form of a capsule, also is being tested alone and in combination with Taxotere in trials for breast cancer patients at Indiana.

In a separate pilot Phase II trial at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Panzem is being tested in patients with multiple myeloma, an aggressive bone marrow cancer. The drug is designed to both block the growth of tiny, tumor-feeding blood vessels and to attack the tumors directly.

GenVec now testing TNFerade with humans


GenVec Inc. said yesterday that it has started human testing of TNFerade, a gene therapy intended to be used in combination with radiation.

TNFerade, which is injected directly into the tumor, uses a disabled virus to carry the gene for a cancer-fighting protein into the tumor. The protein, known as tumor necrosis factor alpha, or TNFa, has been found to both directly fight cancer and increase the effectiveness of radiation. But its use has been limited because of its toxic effects when delivered systemically.

Patrick hired for key post at MedImmune Inc.

MedImmune Inc., a Gaithersburg-based biopharmaceutical company, said yesterday that it had hired Gregory S. Patrick as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Patrick, 49, has more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, the bulk of it at Merck & Co. Inc., where he was vice president and controller of manufacturing, and as CFO for Ventiv Health Inc.

The CFO position became available in the fall when David Mott, then vice chairman and CFO, was promoted to chief executive officer. Mott remains vice chairman.


Gene Logic lands deal with Genentech Inc.

Gene Logic Inc., a Gaithersburg-based company that supplies information about genes and proteins to scientists researching new drugs, said yesterday that Genentech Inc. has subscribed to one of its databases.

Terms of the multiyear deal with the South San Francisco, Calif., biotechnology company were not disclosed.


Union tells pilots to cease no-overtime campaign at Delta

The union representing 9,800 Delta Air Lines pilots has directed its members to comply with a federal court injunction halting a no-overtime work campaign, a union spokesman said yesterday.


The injunction, issued by a federal judge in Atlanta, prohibits Air Line Pilots Association members from refusing to request or accept overtime flying work, and from engaging in any other actions which interfere with Delta's operations.

In a posting on its Web site, ALPA told its pilots - who are demanding higher wages and improved benefits in a new contract - to cease any unlawful activity, including harassment of pilots who request overtime work. Delta sued the union in December, accusing it of orchestrating a campaign to decline overtime flying requests, in violation of the federal Railway Labor Act.

Chrysler is readying buyout offer in Canada

The Chrysler arm of Daimler- Chrysler AG said yesterday that it will offer some of its Canadian hourly workers a retirement incentive package valued at C$52,500, as it works to trim 20 percent of its worldwide work force.

The incentives, aimed at trimming the payroll of hourly employees already eligible for retirement, is part of the struggling automaker's drive to cut 26,000 jobs worldwide and restore profits. Chrysler lost roughly $1.7 billion in the second half of 2000, and company sources have said Chrysler won't show a profit until 2002.

Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan said the automaker wasn't sure how many workers were eligible for the program. When it announced the cuts two weeks ago, it estimated that about 2,700 workers in Canada were eligible for retirement or special programs.


New jobless claims decline by 11,000

New claims for state unemployment benefits declined last week for the first time in four weeks, but were still in a range indicating that companies' appetite for workers has diminished.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 for the work week ending Feb. 10, the Labor Department reported yesterday. It was the first decline since Jan. 13, when claims dropped by 40,000.

Stock-manipulation probe is widened by SEC

Federal regulators are pressing on with their four-year pursuit of a complex stock-manipulation scheme involving the defunct Systems of Excellence Inc., suing another four people yesterday and recovering about $400,000 in settlements with three of them.

The Systems of Excellence case was the first in which the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged stock manipulation using the Internet. The company, which made video teleconferencing equipment, eventually entered bankruptcy liquidation proceedings. Its offices were in McLean, Va., and Coral Gables, Fla.


The SEC alleged in its new civil lawsuit that the four - the company's corporate secretary, an accountant, a medical doctor and a retired investor - made $1.7 million in profits in 1996 by unlawfully selling Systems of Excellence shares "into an artificially inflated market that was being manipulated by others." The SEC has recovered nearly $15 million from defendants over the four years of its investigation.

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