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Rockville REIT Criimi Mae says it might seek buyer

Criimi Mae Inc., a U.S. commercial mortgage company that emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2001, said yesterday that it might seek a buyer. The stock jumped 9.8 percent on the news, valuing the company at more than $275 million.

Criimi Mae has hired Citigroup Global Markets Inc. as an adviser and is considering options, the Rockville company said. Its largest shareholder, an affiliate of a fund managed by Chief Executive Officer Barry S. Blattman, and other parties have expressed interest, the company said.

Criimi Mae, which is structured as a real estate investment trust, emerged from bankruptcy in 2001 after a two-year reorganization. Since then, buyout negotiations with at least two groups have fallen apart.

Reactor at Calvert Cliffs is shut down for refueling

Constellation Energy Group Inc. shut down its Calvert Cliffs 2 nuclear reactor Tuesday night for refueling and said yesterday that the unit will be out of service for about four weeks.

The 835-megawatt reactor, one of two units at the plant in Lusby, about 50 miles south of Washington, can supply power to almost 670,000 typical U.S. homes, based on U.S. Energy Department estimates.

Its twin, Unit 1, is operating at full power, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CompuDyne results to be issued next month

CompuDyne Corp. said yesterday that it expects to release in early to mid-March its results for the fourth quarter of last year, after it takes advantage of a 45-day extension granted by the Securities and Exchange Commission to complete its earnings report.

Hanover-based CompuDyne said it expects to report a substantial loss for the fourth quarter and for the first quarter of this year.

The security contractor said its earnings report has been delayed by "the extraordinary efforts required to implement the requirements of [the] Sarbanes- Oxley [Act]."

Ciena first-quarter loss narrows to $57 million

Ciena Corp. reported yesterday a narrowed net loss on strong sales for its fiscal first quarter, but the Linthicum company's shares declined after management predicted a lower rate of sales growth in the current quarter.

For its fiscal 2005 first quarter, which ended Jan. 31, Ciena recorded a net loss of $57 million, or 10 cents per share, a significant reduction from the net loss of $76 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago. After factoring out nonrecurring financial items, Ciena said, it would have posted a first-quarter loss of $27.7 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with an adjusted loss of $38.3 million, or 8 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue totaled $94.75 million, up 43 percent from the $66.41 million reported a year earlier.

Ciena said it expects revenue growth of 5 percent to 7 percent for its fiscal second quarter as customer purchases of the company's new, higher-margin equipment accelerate in the second half of the year.

Price names McGuirk municipal bonds chief

T. Rowe Price Group Inc. has named Hugh McGuirk to lead its municipal bond department, which oversees about $10 billion.

The division runs 20 mutual funds and more than 25 client accounts, the Baltimore-based money management company said yesterday.

McGuirk, 44, who joined the company 11 years ago as a trader, replaces Mary Miller, 49, who continued to head the group after she was named director of fixed income last year.

Md. gives Shore panel $100,000 economic grant

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development gave a $100,000 grant yesterday to a group responsible for planning and economic development along a swath of the Eastern Shore.

The Mid-Shore Regional Council, which serves Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties, will use the money for capital investment loans to businesses.

Structural Preservation buys AquaShield of Fla.

Structural Preservation Systems Inc., a $200 million Baltimore-based specialty contracting firm, announced yesterday its acquisition of AquaShield Inc. of South Florida.

AquaShield, the largest specialty repair company in Florida, offers waterproofing and concrete restoration services to condominium and facility owners.

Terms were not disclosed.

Elsewhere

Shareholders can't offer alternate plan for Trump Hotels

A federal judge in Camden, N.J., refused yesterday to allow shareholders to file a competing bankruptcy plan for Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., eliminating a key obstacle to court confirmation of the casino company's Chapter 11 reorganization.

U.S. District Judge Judith Wizmur denied a motion by the Official Committee of Equity Security Holders to strip Trump Hotels of the exclusive right to propose a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The equity committee, which represents holders of Trump Hotels common stock, contends that the reorganization plan crafted by the company gives Chairman Donald J. Trump millions of dollars in benefits at the expense of investors.

Trump Hotels, which operates three casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., and a riverboat in Gary, Ind., filed for Chapter 11 on Nov. 21. A confirmation hearing on its reorganization plan is to begin April 5.

Hershey seeks to change name, double its shares

Hershey Foods Corp., the nation's largest candy maker, wants to change its name to Hershey Co. and double its outstanding shares to help finance unspecified enterprises as part of a larger corporate makeover.

The company, which makes such brands as Reese's, Almond Joy, Mounds and KitKat, said in a regulatory filing that it also is considering revising the Hershey logo. Both moves would require shareholder approval.

Hershey would not specify what it plans to do with the extra money it hopes to generate by doubling its current authorization of 525 million shares. Industry analysts have raised the possibility that it will acquire a competing candy business, such as Cadbury Schweppes PLC.

Lea Fastow is denied reduction in sentence

Lea Fastow, wife of former Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew S. Fastow, will serve her entire one-year prison term for helping her husband hide tens of thousands of dollars in ill-gotten kickbacks from the government, a federal judge ruled yesterday in Houston.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner denied a request from Lea Fastow's attorney that she be released from prison before her sentence on a tax crime ends in July.

Last year, Hittner imposed the maximum prison term possible for a misdemeanor charge of filing a false tax form. The decision followed months of legal wrangling that involved the judge's refusal to agree to a term of five months in prison and five months' confinement at home for the felony version of the same count.

FTC cuts waiting period for Lee buyout of Pulitzer

The Federal Trade Commission has ended early the antitrust waiting period for Lee Enterprises Inc.'s planned $1.46 billion buyout of fellow newspaper publisher Pulitzer Inc., Pulitzer said yesterday.

St. Louis-based Pulitzer - which owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Arizona Daily Star - said in the Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it will file a proxy statement with the agency for approval by the company's shareholders.

The deal, announced Jan. 31, has been unanimously endorsed by the boards of both companies. At least two Pulitzer shareholders have sued to block the deal.

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

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