1: BALTIMORE GAS & ELECTRIC CO. Gas & Electric Building Charles Center P.O. Box 1475 Baltimore, Md. 21203
REVENUE: $1.76 billion PROFITS: $243.9 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $5.54 DIVIDEND: $3.10 ASSETS: $4.01 billion STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $1.43 billion RETURN ON EQUITY: 15.6 percent EXCHANGE: NYSE EMPLOYES: 9,134 TOP EXECUTIVES: Bernard C. Trueschler, chairman; George V. McGowan, president FOUNDED: 1816
DESCRIPTION: BG&E is an investor-owned utility, selling electricity and natural gas to Baltimore City and most of nine Central Maryland counties. The utility operates 10 electric generating plants in Central Maryland. It buys its natural gas from pipeline suppliers and natural gas producers. The company also sells and services electric and gas appliances, and has subsidiaries in real estate, financial investments and alternative energy sources.
DEVELOPMENTS: BG&E reported a banner year for 1984, with earnings per share up 12 percent over fiscal 1983 to a record $5.54. BG&E attributed the increase to a rate increase, higher electric and gas revenue after a colder-than-usual January and February, and refinancing of some debt.
The Maryland Public Service Commission last year granted the utility a $76.1 million rate hike, $60 million less than the company had sought. The request for higher rates was prompted by start-up costs for the Brandon Shores coal-burning power plant in Anne Arundel County, which went on line in May.
For the first quarter of 1985, BG&E's profits dipped by 4.7 percent from the comparable 1984 period. First-quarter revenue was $508 million, down from $522.7 million for the first three months of 1984. 2: CROWN CENTRAL PETROLEUM CORP. P.O. Box 1168 Baltimore, Md. 20203 REVENUE: $1.61 billion PROFITS: $504,000 LOSS PER SHARE: 12 cents DIVIDEND: 20 cents ASSETS: $528.7 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $188.8 million RETURN ON EQUITY: NA EXCHANGE: Amex EMPLOYES: 5,000 TOP EXECUTIVES: Henry A. Rosenberg, chairman; W. M. Ginder, president FOUNDED: 1925
DESCRIPTION: Crown Central is an independent producer, refiner and marketer of petroleum products. It is engaged in domestic oil and gas exploration and operates a 100,000 barrel-per-day refinery on the Houston Ship Channel in Texas. It also has subsidiaries in the convenience-store industry.
DEVELOPMENTS: According to the company, last year was rough for the domestic oil industry -- and for Crown. The company suffered losses from its petroleum, refining and marketing operations, despite profits in its Fast Fare and Zippy Mart convenience stores and Continental American Life Insurance Co. It blamed the squeeze on overproduction of crude oil, which forced down prices for petroleum products.
One of Crown's major goals for last year was to reduce its long-term debt. By the end of the year, it had trimmed long-term debt by about $44 million, and it repaid an additional $30 million early this January.
Crown said it made several changes to reduce operating expenses and improve its competitive position. It suspended dividends on common stock; cut and reorganized its staff; controlled capital expenditures, operating costs and administrative expenses, and reduced inventory levels. (Payment of dividends on preferred stock turned the slight 1984 profit into a 12 cent-per-share loss.)This year the company hopes to consolidate operations of its convenience store chains and build a "modest number" of new stores.
"While it's impossible to predict exactly when the industry situation will turn around, we do believe that it will happen in the not too distant future," the company said in its annual report. 3: BLACK & DECKER MANUFACTURING CO. 701 E. Joppa Rd. Baltimore, Md. 21204
REVENUE: $1.53 billion PROFITS: $95.4 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $1.95 DIVIDEND: 58 cents ASSETS: $1.47 billion STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $683.5 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 15.4 percent EXCHANGE: NYSE EMPLOYES: 23,000 TOP EXECUTIVE: Laurence J. Farley, president and chief executive officer FOUNDED: 1910 DESCRIPTION: Black & Decker makes and markets power tools and household products.
DEVELOPMENTS: Black & Decker reported record results for the year ended Sept. 30, with profits up 116 percent and sales up 32 percent. The improved business, the firm said, reflects a number of factors, including continued emphasis on new product development, aggressive marketing programs, and a generally more favorable economic environment. The company also said that capital investments over a number of years have paid off in a more efficient manufacturing operation.
Fiscal 1984 was a key year for Black & Decker because it completed the purchase of General Electric Co.'s housewares operations. Under the terms of the sale, which will expand Black & Decker's base of small appliances, GE received $109.8 million in cash, 3 million shares of Black & Decker common stock, and a note for about $3 million. Black & Decker has undertaken a major advertising campaign to convert consumers' buying habits from the GE to Black & Decker label. 4: MCCORMICK & CO. INC. 11350 McCormick Rd. Hunt Valley, Md. 21031
REVENUE: $788.4 million PROFITS: $54.6 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $4.40 DIVIDEND: $1.13 ASSETS: $542.5 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $243.7 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 23.1 percent EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 7,091 TOP EXECUTIVES: Harry K. Wells, chairman and chief executive officer; Hillsman V. Wilson, president and chief operating officer FOUNDED: 1889
DESCRIPTION: A pioneer in the spice industry, McCormick has become the nation's largest seasonings company and a diversified food conglomerate. Its many divisions market a wide range of food products to 84 countries from 58 facilities worldwide. McCormick has also become heavily involved in real estate, with Washington-area office complexes and industrial parks in its portfolio. A recent book named the company one of "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America" because of its progressive system of employe/management relations.
DEVELOPMENTS: The fiscal year ended Nov. 30, 1984, was a record one at McCormick, as sales increased 6 percent and profits rose 36 percent. Real estate earnings early in the year allowed the company to reinvest in flourishing food businesses, including a $54 million acquisition of the largest spice firm in Britain. Sales jumped in its spice and ingredient divisions, and McCormick now serves 81 of the top 100 food processors in the nation. Near year's end, McCormick Properties purchased a 233,000-square-foot rental office building near Harrisburg, Pa., rounding off property holdings to more than 3.7 million square feet of office space.
Early in 1985, McCormick ventured into the new technology of manipulating organisms on the cellular or molecular level with a $2.5 million joint project with an agricultural biotechnology firm. The company said the research will involve a wide range of plants and seeds used by McCormick. Finally, a McCormick subsidiary, Gilroy Foods Inc. of Gilroy, Calif., acquired the assets of Geothermal Food Processors Inc. of Brady's Hot Springs, Nev., and announced plans to use geothermal energy to dehydrate onions. 5: EASCO CORP. 201 N. Charles St. Baltimore, Md. 21201
REVENUE: $571.2 million LOSS: $9 million LOSS PER SHARE: $1.26 DIVIDEND: 66 cents ASSETS: $288.9 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $106.2 million RETURN ON EQUITY: NA EXCHANGE: NYSE EMPLOYES: 5,535 TOP EXECUTIVES: Richard P. Sullivan, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert L. Swam, president and chief operating officer FOUNDED: 1919
DESCRIPTION: Easco manufactures aluminum products for a large number of uses, including commercial and residential construction, recreational vehicles and truck bodies, appliances, electrical and electronics equipment and health-care products. It also supplies hand tools to Sears, Roebuck & Co. and the National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA), and it makes gratings for industrial use.
DEVELOPMENTS: Although net sales in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 increased by 12 percent to $571 million, Easco reported the first annual operating loss in its history last year, compared with a profit of $10.2 million in fiscal 1983. The company attributed its loss to its hand-tool division, which could not adjust efficiently to sharp fluctuations in demand. In addition, the start-up costs associated with Easco's first full year as the sole supplier of hand tools for NAPA were higher than expected.
Early this year Easco raised $25 million by selling convertible bonds, allowing it to repay short-term bank debt and reduce the overall rate of interest it pays on borrowed funds.
Since September, Steven M. Rales and Mitchell P. Rales, the sole partners in Equity Group Holdings Inc., a Washington private partnership engaged in real estate and manufacturing operations, have acquired 17.7 percent of Easco.
In January, Easco's board of directors rejected as "inadequate" the Rales' $18.50-a-share takeover bid. The brothers then proposed their own slate of directors and sought to replace management. By late last month, Easco had not yet announced a date for its 1985 annual meeting, and a newly formed company partly owned by Equity Group made a cash offer for 3.2 million shares of common stock at $20.50 per share.