- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Regional

U XM Satellite Radio of the District introduced a portable device that lets users pause, replay programs and save as many as 10 songs. The XpressRC radio will start selling later this year for about $170, XM said. The radio’s color screen lets listeners view what is playing on as many as three channels.

U BAE Systems PLC, Europe’s biggest defense company, and General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church won an order from the Marine Corps valued at $140 million for 600 mine-resistant vehicles to be deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. BAE’s South African unit and General Dynamics‘ Canadian unit will build an expanded version of the RG31, an all-steel vehicle.

U Lockheed Martin Corp. received no bonus for the first phase of its development of a new presidential helicopter, according to Navy officials, because the Bethesda defense contractor didn’t live up to its contract. Lockheed is developing a new VH-71 helicopter for executive branch travel to replace the current ones, which are 40 years old.

U Fannie Mae shares fell 3.5 percent after the Bush administration refused to allow the government-chartered company to expand its purchases of mortgage bonds by $72 billion to help relieve a credit crunch. The stock dropped $2.34 to $64.12.

U Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan education division said it agreed to buy two schools to expand its business in Australia. The purchases of Bradford College, which provides services for the University of Adelaide, and Grange Business School, which offers programs in accounting and business, are expected to close soon. Terms were not disclosed.

U Sutron Corp., a Sterling provider of meteorological and hydrological monitoring products, said net income for its second quarter ended June 30 fell 23 percent to $394,000 (9 cents per diluted share) to $509,000 (12 cents) the previous year.

U Cel-Sci Corp., a developer of cancer treatments in Vienna, Va., said its net loss for the third quarter ended June 30 widened 327 percent to $5.55 million (5 cents) from $1.30 million (2 cents) the previous year. General and administrative expenses were sharply higher and the company reported a large loss on a derivative instrument, which it did not explain in its earnings release.

National

U A majority of the nation’s banks have tightened lending standards on subprime mortgages, the Federal Reserve said in a survey that provided further evidence of the spreading problems in mortgage lending. The Fed said it found that 56.3 percent of banks responding to a survey reported that they had tightened their lending standards for subprime mortgages, loans offered to borrowers with weak credit histories.

U Aegis Mortgage Corp., a Houston subprime lender, and 10 affiliates sought bankruptcy reorganization, listing assets and liabilities both exceeding $100 million. Aegis, 80 percent owned by an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, last week said it was shutting down its lending business and firing a “substantial” number of employees.

U Shares of Thornburg Mortgage Inc. plunged the most since October 1998 after Bear Stearns & Co. analysts said higher borrowing costs may force the mortgage lender to sell assets or reduce its dividend. The shares fell $3.78, or 21 percent, to $14.28. They have dropped 43 percent this year.

U Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm and second-largest hedge fund manager, said will invest about $2 billion to shore up its Global Equity Opportunities Fund after a 28 percent decline this month. Investors including Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, former chairman of American International Group, and home-building billionaire Eli Broad will invest an additional $1 billion.

U Blackstone Group, manager of the world’s largest private-equity fund, said second-quarter earnings more than tripled as revenue increased during a record year for leveraged buyouts. Net income was $774 million, compared with $224 million a year earlier, Blackstone said in its first report as a public company.

U Executives of Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs said they see opportunities in the deteriorating debt market, and plan to swoop in and buy some of those obligations at steep discounts. While many big financial institutions have taken a beating and fled to safer investments, both Blackstone and Goldman see a chance to invest profitably.

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