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Lockheed Reports Profit Up 27 Percent, Increases Projections

Wednesday, April 27, 2005; Page E10

Lockheed Martin Corp., the Pentagon's largest contractor, reported a 27 percent increase in its first-quarter profit yesterday and raised its 2005 revenue forecast. The Bethesda-based maker of F-16 fighter jets and satellites said profit rose to $369 million (83 cents a share) from $291 million (65 cents) in the comparable period last year. Revenue increased 2 percent, to $8.49 billion.

The quarter included an after-tax gain of $31 million from the sale of its stake in satellite company Intelsat Ltd. and a $19 million after-tax loss related to writing down the value of a telecommunications satellite the company put up for sale.

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The quarter was also boosted by two acquisitions the firm made last year in its information technology business. Lockheed said it expects to report revenue of up to $38 billion this year, $500 million more than its previous estimate. The company's stock increased slightly, by 9 cents, to close at $59.84 a share in New York Stock Exchange trading.

• Albemarle Corp. said its July acquisition of a refinery business helped boost sales, leading to a 79 percent increase in first-quarter profit. The Richmond chemical maker said it earned $24.3 million (52 cents a share), up from $13.6 million (32 cents) in the comparable period last year. Excluding certain one-time or unusual items, the company said, it would have earned $25.2 million (54 cents).

Revenue jumped 58 percent, to $510 million from $322 million, driven by contributions from the Akzo Nobel refinery catalysts unit. The company added that it raised prices across its businesses to offset increases in raw material and energy costs totaling about $20 million.

Shares of Albemarle rose nearly 6 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading to close at $35.74.

• Lafarge North America Inc. of Herndon, a major supplier of construction materials, reported a first-quarter loss of $188.5 million ($2.51 a share), compared with a loss of $70.8 million (96 cents) in the corresponding period last year. Sales rose 13 percent, to $577 million. The results for the period ended March 31 include a one-time tax charge of $115.7 million associated with the company's decision to repatriate $1.1 billion in cash from its Canadian subsidiary.

The company said it reports a first-quarter loss every year because its business activity slows during the winter months, when construction slows. Lafarge said only 15 percent of its sales are realized during the first three months of the year, which is also when it undertakes major maintenance at its plants.

T. Rowe Price Group Inc. said its first-quarter profit rose 22 percent, fueled largely by an increase in advisory fees. The Baltimore investment management firm said it earned $94.3 million (69 cents a share), up from $77.3 million (58 cents) in the corresponding period last year. Revenue rose to $357.1 million from $305.7 million.

T. Rowe Price said assets under management grew by 17 percent, to $235.9 billion, and its advisory revenue jumped 18 percent, to $289 million from $245 million. The company also said it remains debt free and has cash and net liquid investments of $650 million as of March 31.

• Chesapeake Corp., a Richmond supplier of paperboard and plastic packaging, said first-quarter profit more than tripled on strong sales in its two main businesses. The company reported earnings of $2.3 million (12 cents a share), up from $700,000 (4 cents) in the year-ago quarter. Earnings from continuing operations were $1.6 million (8 cents).

Sales increased to $272.4 million from $263.6 million, fueled in part by a 14 percent increase in its plastic packaging segment. Chesapeake said overall sales were hurt by decreased volume from pharmaceutical and health care packaging, as well as pricing pressure and volume declines in food and household packaging.

• Mercantile Bankshares Corp. reported a 12.4 increase in first-quarter profit, driven by increased net interest income and growth in its loan portfolio. The Baltimore banking company said it earned $62.6 million (78 cents a share), up from $55.7 million (69 cents) in the comparable quarter last year. Mercantile said construction loans increased 20.4 percent, while consumer loans increased only slightly. Total loans jumped 10.5 percent, to $10.31 billion, while assets grew 3.4 percent, to $14.63 billion.

• Capital Automotive REIT, a McLean-based real estate investment trust, said first-quarter funds from operations increased 28 percent, to $36.1 million (66 cents a share) from $28.1 million (66 cents) in the comparable period last year. Funds from operations is a common measure of profitability for real estate investment trusts. The first-quarter FFO included $1.2 million in lease termination fees.

The company, which owns the land and buildings of auto dealerships, said revenue rose 19 percent, to $56.7 million. Profit rose 27 percent, to $23.6 million. After dividends to preferred shareholders, profit rose 23 percent, to $20.5 million (47 cents). Capital Automotive also said its total real estate investments increased by $36 million.

The Corporate Executive Board Co., a District-based business advisory firm, reported a 43 percent increase in first-quarter profit as contracts grew in value and the firm signed on more new clients. The company said it earned $17.1 million (42 cents a share), up from $12 million (31 cents) in the comparable period last year. Revenue rose 27.6 percent, to $81.6 million from $64 million.

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