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In the Region

BioVeris posts smaller net loss for quarter; annual revenue is up

BioVeris Corp. reported yesterday that it posted a decrease in its net loss for both the quarter and fiscal year that ended March 31, as well as an increase in annual revenue.

The Gaithersburg health care company said its loss for the quarter was $7.1 million, or 27 cents a share - down 87 percent from a year earlier, when its loss was $53.5 million, or $2 per share. BioVeris' loss for the year was $77.6 million, or $2.90 per share, down from the previous year's loss of $93.3 million, or $3.49 per share.

Annual revenue for the company, which develops tools to help diagnose biological or chemical substances, increased 32 percent, to $26.3 million from $20 million a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter was down, however, to $4.9 million from $5.1 million.


OPEC seen raising official daily output to 28 million barrels

OPEC is expected to raise its daily output quota by half a million barrels when it meets later this week, though analysts said the move would have little impact on oil prices - an opinion that appeared to be verified by a $2-a-barrel surge yesterday.

The anticipated increase would bring the official quota to 28 million barrels per day - a symbolic gesture, analysts said, since the cartel is already pumping that much. Including Iraq, which is not bound by the official quota, OPEC's daily output was 29.3 million barrels a day in May, according to the International Energy Agency.

Yesterday, Brent crude futures shot up $2.11 to $54.78 a barrel on London's International Petroleum Exchange. Light sweet crude futures rose $2.08 to $55.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where heating oil futures jumped 5.57 cents to $1.6631 a gallon.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline futures rose 1.06 cents to $1.5542 a gallon.

Harrah's finalizes purchase of Caesars Entertainment

Harrah's Entertainment Inc. concluded its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Inc. yesterday, re-establishing itself as the largest gambling company in the world with more than 40 properties in 12 states and three countries.

Harrah's bought Caesars for $1.87 billion in cash and $3.27 billion in stock. Harrah's assumed $3.86 billion in Caesars debt.

Since the Las Vegas-based companies announced the deal in July, they've sold six properties in the United States and interests in South Africa and Nova Scotia casinos. The new company also is selling the Reno Hilton hotel-casino in a deal expected to be completed this year.

Ford to sell Hertz shares after rental unit's IPO

Ford Motor Co., wracked by financial problems and a credit downgrade, said yesterday that its Hertz Corp. car rental unit has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.

The nation's second-largest automobile maker had said April 20 that it was evaluating long-term strategic objectives for the unit. After the IPO, Ford intends to divest itself of its remaining ownership interest in Hertz, which operates the largest general-use car rental business in the world.

Sachs CEO subpoenaed in probe of Gillette advice

Massachusetts' top securities regulator sought sworn testimony from Goldman Sachs CEO Henry M. Paulson Jr. yesterday in an investigation of advice Gillette Co. received in its pending acquisition by Procter & Gamble Co.

Paulson, whose company was one of two Wall Street investment banks to advise Gillette on the deal's fairness, was subpoenaed to appear at Secretary of State William Galvin's offices June 23 for oral testimony.

Also subpoenaed to testify within two weeks were William Mostyn, a former Gillette corporate governance officer and secretary, and Eric Derheimer, an official at UBS Securities, which served as an adviser to Gillette along with Goldman Sachs.

Sirius Radio expects 25% growth in channel capacity

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., the No. 2 U.S. pay-radio company, will adopt technology next year to increase channel capacity by 25 percent, potentially narrowing its programming gap with XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The innovation, called hierarchical modulation, will let Sirius add to its 120 channels of audio programming and offer video and data services, the company said yesterday. XM Satellite, the biggest subscription radio service, offers 153 audio channels.

The new technology is to be implemented in the second half of 2006.

HP again separates its computer, printer units

Hewlett-Packard Co. re-separated the personal-computer business from the company's printer unit and hired PalmOne Inc.'s former chief executive Todd Bradley to run it.

Vyomesh Joshi, who had served as executive vice president of the combined group, will resume his former role running just the printer unit, HP said.

UPS gets antitrust OK to buy Overnite Corp.

United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package-delivery company, won U.S. antitrust clearance to buy Overnite Corp. for $1.25 billion, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

The acquisition will put UPS in direct competition with FedEx Corp. for shipments of larger goods by truck, and help it gain customers from commercial clients, such as retailers. UPS, which carries mostly smaller packages on trucks, is also trying to build an air-freight network to compete with FedEx for business customers that ship freight.

In December, Atlanta-based UPS purchased Menlo Worldwide Forwarding and said it planned to build freight hubs at five U.S. airports.

Outside buyers seen having interest in United Airlines

For the first time, creditors at UAL Corp., parent of bankrupt United Airlines, have indicated that outside buyers have expressed interest in taking over the carrier as it emerges from Chapter 11.

In a court filing Friday, the airline's creditors committee said it didn't object to giving UAL's current management an extension until Sept. 1 for exclusive rights to file a financial reorganization plan for UAL.

But the committee said it did not agree with the implication that there were no other qualified parties interested in submitting alternate plans of reorganization.

Vilar pleads not guilty in case of adviser fraud

A philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars before he was charged with defrauding an investor of $5 million pleaded not guilty yesterday and remained jailed, unable to make bail.

Alberto William Vilar, 64, stood in a prison jumpsuit before Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Vilar said he was not guilty of investment adviser fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges in an indictment returned last week.

Vilar has been unable to post $4 million in assets to secure a $10 million bail set after his May 27 arrest.

Boeing to challenge Airbus with new versions of 747

Boeing Co., the world's second-largest maker of commercial aircraft, expects to launch passenger and freighter versions of a stretched 747 aircraft this year, challenging Airbus SAS' superjumbo A380.

The new plane would have 8 percent more seats than the current 416-seat version and use more fuel-efficient engines developed for the company's 250-seat 787 model, said Randy Baseler, Boeing's vice president of commercial marketing, at the Paris Air Show.

Boeing would pit its new version of the 30-year-old plane against the 555-seat A380 and try to keep a share of the market for aircraft seating at least 400 passengers. The 747 will be overtaken as the world's biggest airliner by Toulouse, France-based Airbus' A380, scheduled to go into service late next year.

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

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