- 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.

U General Motors Corp., raising cash for new models, said it expects a gain of as much as $5.4 billion this quarter from the sale of the Allison Transmission unit to buyout firms Carlyle Group, of the District, and Onex Corp.

U Private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. said it received a request for documents and information from the antitrust division of the Department of Justice. The firm said the request is in connection to an investigation into whether private equity firms have broken antitrust laws. KKR also said the recent “significant” jump in borrowing costs for buyouts may hurt its funds’ performance.

U Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has been hired to advise the securities unit of Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest bank. Mr. Greenspan, 81, will provide “advice and insight” to the company’s corporate and investment banking unit and its clients, the Frankfurt-based bank said.

U Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, challenged a U.S. government report that said a prototype mobile Internet device might interfere with broadcast television signals and wireless microphones. A damaged component skewed last month’s findings by the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology, Microsoft said.

U Dow Jones & Co., the publisher that agreed to be sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said print advertising revenue at the Wall Street Journal fell 7.2 percent last month. Ad volume at the newspaper declined 21 percent in July from a year earlier.

International

U Kazakh state nuclear fuel company Kazatomprom will buy 10 percent of Westinghouse Electric Co. from Toshiba Corp. for $540 million, the companies said. Kazatomprom, the third-largest uranium producer in the world, plans to use the deal to enter new export markets for its uranium fuel.

U Borse Dubai said it had “friendly and productive” meetings with stakeholders of OMX AB after buying a 27.4 percent stake last week in the Nordic exchange. Dubai’s investment in Stockholm-based OMX may spark a takeover battle with Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., which offered $3.8 billion for the exchange three months ago.

From wire dispatches and staff reports