BUSINESS DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In The Region

Allegheny makes first payment to end power supply pact

Allegheny Energy Supply Co., a subsidiary of Hagerstown-based Allegheny Energy Inc. and its Allegheny Trading Finance unit, paid the initial $100 million installment yesterday under an agreement to terminate its 1,000-megawatt tolling agreement with Williams Power Company Inc., a unit of Williams Cos.

Allegheny Energy Supply also will pay Williams two $14 million installments within a year. The end of the agreement and the recently completed sale of Allegheny Trading Finance's energy supply contract with the California Department of Water Resources and the termination of a second tolling agreement, are part of Allegheny's strategy to leave Western energy markets and refocus on its core assets.

Allegheny Energy also is the parent of Allegheny Power, which provides electric and natural gas service to about 3 million people in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Patapsco Bancorp raises dividend 2 cents to 16 cents a share

Patapsco Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Patapsco Bank, declared a cash dividend yesterday of 16 cents per share, marking the Baltimore County bank's 25th consecutive quarterly dividend.

The dividend is 2 cents, or 14 percent, higher than it paid in the previous quarter and 24 percent higher than it paid in the corresponding quarter in 2002. It will be paid Oct. 31 to shareholders of record Oct. 3.

In July, the bank reported year-end income of $1.35 million, or $2.41 cents per share, up 18.3 percent from net income of $1.1 million, or $2.08 per share, for fiscal year 2002.

Genesis' Arlotta to head NeighborCare after split

John J. Arlotta, current vice chairman for Genesis Heath Ventures, Inc., will become chairman and chief executive officer of NeighborCare when the Baltimore company is split from Genesis next month, Genesis said yesterday.

The spin-off of NeighborCare will give Baltimore the corporate headquarters of a publicly traded company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. NeighborCare, a pharmacy and medical equipment company, was founded in Baltimore and was acquired by Pennsylvania-based Genesis in 1996. NeighborCare has about 200 employees at its Inner Harbor headquarters and about 1,250 in Maryland altogether.

Until he joined Genesis in July, Arlotta was president of Caremark Pharmaceutical Services, a pharmacy benefit manager.

Fila USA elevates Nolan from controller to CFO

Fila USA has promoted Sharon Noland, its vice president-controller, to chief financial officer as the sportswear company continues to add to its senior management team, the Sparks company said yesterday.

Noland will be responsible for several divisions, including tax, financial planning and reporting, credit, accounts receivable, accounts payable and accounting. She will oversee Fila Canada, the financial reporting office for Fila Mexico, and Enyce, an apparel division.

Noland started her career at Fila in 1993 as a manager for cost accounting. In 1996, she was promoted to director of cost accounting and in 1998 she became vice president and controller.

Elsewhere

Disabled U.K. broker alleges bias by Cantor Fitzgerald

Cantor Fitzgerald LP, a U.S. bond brokerage, faces a U.K. employment tribunal claim that the firm discriminated against a broker because of a disability.

Peter Hurst, who was an interest-rate swaps broker at Cantor, also says the firm unlawfully deducted his wages, according to Ivy Kam, a clerk at Woburn Place employment tribunal, who didn't provide further details. A hearing is scheduled for February.

Hurst's lawyer, Caroline Omare, declined to comment. Cantor spokeswoman Cara Kiewel couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Cantor, which lost about 60 percent of its New York employees in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, paid 912,000 pounds ($1.5 million) in damages last month to a former senior managing director because his boss bullied him into quitting. The firm has asked the U.K. Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the verdict.

Eastman Chemical weighs adding to layoff of 2,400

Eastman Chemical Co. is considering cutting more jobs, including corporate positions, to make up for expected increases in labor costs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Ferguson said yesterday.

The Kingsport, Tenn.-based chemical, fibers and plastics manufacturer said last month that about 2,400 employees would lose their jobs when it divests, consolidates or restructures some businesses.

Corporate jobs supporting those areas also could be targeted for layoffs, Ferguson told analysts. "We are in a reduction mode," Ferguson said. "Hundreds of jobs will be reduced."

Eastman has 15,800 workers in more than 30 countries.

AFL-CIO chief to seek another 4-year term in '05

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney intends to seek another four-year term, a decision he says will allow the labor organization to focus less on choosing a successor and more on defeating President Bush in 2004.

"We face one of the single most anti-worker administrations in decades, and we must focus our efforts on making sure that the next administration is one that values working people," Sweeney said yesterday.

The announcement comes well before Sweeney is up for re-election in summer 2005. The bid, if successful, would keep him in charge for 14 years. An AFL-CIO vice president since 1980, Sweeney, 69, was first elected president in 1995 and has been re-elected twice.

EU's highest court upholds VW's $101 million fine

The European Union's high court upheld a ruling yesterday that Volkswagen must pay a record fine of 90 million euros ($101.5 million) for seeking to prevent Germans and Austrians from buying VW and Audi-brand cars in Italy.

The rejection of Volkswagen's appeal by the European Court of Justice ends years of legal wrangling between the German automaker and the EU's executive commission, which slapped VW with the fine in 1998 for breaking EU competition rules.

Volkswagen acknowledged it had sold cars cheaper in Italy than in its domestic market and tried to prevent distributors there from re-exporting them, the court said. The car company had tried to reduce the fine, but the court rejected VW's demand.

Foreigner may become first on Microsoft board

The head of BMW has been nominated for one of two new seats on Microsoft's board of directors, which would make him the first board member at the software giant from outside the United States.

Helmut Panke, chairman of the board of management of Munich, Germany-based Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, was nominated along with Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman and chief financial officer of AT&T.;

Panke's presence on the board could bolster Microsoft's standing in Europe amid a four-year European Union antitrust investigation and threat of fines.

Mass. pension may drop Fidelity, Putnam funds

Fidelity Investments and Putnam Investments, two of the biggest U.S. fund companies, may lose contracts to manage money for the pension fund of Massachusetts because of poor performance, an officer at the pension fund said yesterday.

The $28 billion pension fund is meeting with the firms this month to discuss returns, which have trailed benchmark indexes, Stanley Mavromates, deputy chief investment officer, said.

The review of the Boston companies covers a $450 million Standard & Poor's 500 index fund run by Fidelity and a $1 billion Putnam international stock fund, he said. Putnam also oversees $750 million in small-company stocks for the pension fund. Those assets aren't being examined, Mavromates said.

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

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