NewsWatch: Japan, Canada targeted by new state offices
The state is opening five new foreign offices to double its international presence, expand trade opportunities for Maryland companies and attract foreign investment here, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Thursday.
The new offices, in Japan, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Montenegro, will operate on a contingency basis, with any future state funding based solely on the individual offices' ability to attract companies and jobs to Maryland. In November, Maryland opened its first contingency office in South Korea, operated by IDI Corp. of Ellicott City.
"Operating these new foreign offices without any upfront investment of state taxpayer dollars is one of the many ways that we are reinventing government in Maryland," O'Malley said in a statement. "We will not only be able to attract new foreign companies and jobs to the state and provide our local companies with new avenues for marketing and trade, but also give Maryland an even greater global presence to help us weather these challenging economic times."
Profits up at Lockheed Martin
Aerospace, defense and information technology giant Lockheed Martin of Bethesda on Thursday reported higher fourth-quarter and year-end profits, but lowered its earnings forecast for 2009, citing higher anticipated pension costs due to lower interest rates on investments.
Net income for 2008 was $3.2 billion, up from $3.0 billion in 2007. Net sales totaled $42.7 billion, up 1.9 percent from $41.9 billion the previous year. Fourth-quarter profits rose to $823 million from $799 million in the prior-year quarter.
"Our results for 2008 reflect excellent operational and financial performance across all business areas, despite the difficult economic environment," said Robert Stevens, chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.
Mapping company wins South America contracts
Fugro EarthData Inc. of Frederick has won two federal contracts, worth a total of $13 million, to provide high-accuracy elevation mapping over parts of South America.
The contracts continue Fugro EarthData's prior work in the region. Since 2002, the company has mapped more than 270,000 square miles using its GeoSAR technology.
Fugro EarthData is a subsidiary of Fugro NV of the Netherlands.
SunEdison acquires German solar company
SunEdison, a solar energy services provider in Greenbelt, is expanding in Europe, acquiring Business Institute Solar Strategy of Hamburg, Germany, with an office in Brescia, Italy.
The deal provides SunEdison with 38 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects under development in Italy and Spain, with access to 300 MW of project opportunities in Europe, according to SunEdison information. Privately held SunEdison, with offices in Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Germany, has more than 68 MW of solar under management globally. Terms were not disclosed.
A fire early Monday morning at the Beretta U.S.A. manufacturing plant in Accokeek caused about $250,000 in damages, but no one was hurt, county officials said. The U.S. division of the venerable Italian weapons company manufactures firearms and has numerous contracts with the Pentagon.
The fire heavily damaged a building attached to the main plant and also the roof of the main facility. The main roof partially collapsed while firefighters were battling the blaze, according to a statement from the Prince George's County Fire Department, with about 70 firefighters and paramedics, including some from Charles County, responding to the blaze.
Jeffrey Reh, spokesman for Beretta, said Monday that company officials were working with fire investigators to determine the cause of the fire and did not wish to elaborate. As of a year ago, the company had about 280 employees.
Calverton research company lands $13.6M in contracts
Macro International, a survey research company in Calverton, has received two contracts with the National Science Foundation, worth a total of about $13.6 million, to collect data on the performance and effectiveness of 10 programs promoting the study and professional pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at U.S. academic institutions.
The company will receive $11 million over the next four years to study these aspects for the foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources and $2.6 million for the next five years to support program management at the foundation's Division of Engineering Education and Centers, according to company information.
450 Circuit City workers to lose jobs statewide
About 450 Maryland employees are facing the loss of their jobs in the wake of the announcement that Circuit City Stores Inc. of Richmond, Va., once a pioneer in the electronics retail industry, has begun liquidating its assets after failing in negotiations with creditors and lenders to keep the struggling company going.
Circuit City, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, has 15 stores in Maryland: in Annapolis, Bel Air, Catonsville, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Glen Burnie, Hagerstown, Hanover, Hyattsville, Largo, Rockville, Salisbury, Towson, Waldorf and Wheaton. According to company information, each Circuit City store has about 30 full-time employees.
The chain had 567 stores in the United States with more than 34,000 employees at the time of the liquidation announcement. Liquidation sales began at stores Saturday and are expected to last until "existing inventory" is gone, expected by the end of March.
Smiths Detection gets $19M more for systems work
Systems developer Smiths Detection of Edgewood has received a $19.3 million follow-on contract from the Army for meteorological measuring systems, taking the total program value for Smiths to more than $89 million. The upper atmospheric systems are used to extend the accuracy of field artillery. Deliveries are to start in October.
Accessing real-time atmospheric data to provide comprehensive updates, the system incorporates information from various sources, including satellites, ground sensors and weather balloons, according to company information.