Life Technologies Inc., a Gaithersburg-based supplier of laboratory products to the biotechnology and health-care industries, said its second-quarter profit rose 2 percent, to $3.44 million (24 cents a share) from $3.37 million (24 cents) a year ago.

Revenue also increased 2 percent, to $36 million from $35.1 million a year ago.

In the first half, Life Technologies earned $7 million (49 cents), a 4 percent gain from $6.7 million (47 cents) a year earlier.

Revenue in the half rose 6 percent, to $73.7 million from $69.5 million.

PHP Healthcare Corp., which provides health-care services to state and federal agencies, said revenue from more profitable new contracts helped boost its earnings 211 percent in the fourth quarter and 29 percent in the fiscal year ended April 30.

For the fourth quarter, PHP earned $578,000 (16 cents), compared with a profit of $186,000 (5 cents) in the year-ago fourth quarter. Revenue increased 37 percent, to $23.2 million from $16.96 million.

The Alexandria-based company said it earned $1.87 million (51 cents a share) in fiscal 1990, compared with $1.45 million (40 cents) in fiscal 1989. Revenue rose 14.3 percent for the year, to $81.1 million from $70.9 million.

PHP said it also was aided by the phasing out of older, less profitable contracts and an increasing revenue from its current contracts.

Star Technologies Inc., a Sterling-based computer manufacturer hit by declining sales of scientific computers called array processors and a falloff in its defense and aerospace business, reported a $4.9 million loss for the fiscal year ended March 31.

In the previous fiscal year, Star Technologies lost $7.4 million. Revenue for fiscal 1990 fell 13 percent, to $33.9 million from fiscal 1989's $39 million.

Star reported a $1.4 million fourth-quarter loss, compared with a $2.98 million loss in the same period a year ago. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 23.4 percent, to $8 million from $10.5 million in the same period in 1989.

The company said its results also were affected by the costs of developing new products and of its August acquisition of Glen Culler & Associates, a computer design and engineering firm based in Goleta, Calif.

Star last month announced a $15 million recapitalization program which enabled the company to retire its $11 million subordinated debt.

Data Measurement Corp., which makes computerized measurement and control systems for manufacturers, reported a 7 percent gain in its first-half profit but a 2.4 percent decline for the second quarter.

The Gaithersburg-based company said it earned $161,264 (13 cents) in the quarter, compared with $165,263 (13 cents) in the 1989 second quarter.

Revenue climbed 8 percent in the quarter, to $5.7 million from $5.2 million.

Data Measurement earned $223,301 (18 cents) in the first half, compared with $209,370 (17 cents) in the year-earlier first half. Revenue rose 5.3 percent in the half, to $9.2 million from $8.7 million.

Media General Inc., the Richmond-based media conglomerate whose holdings include the Richmond Times-Dispatch and News Leader and the Fairfax County cable television system, said its earnings more than doubled in the second quarter, to $12.4 million (48 cents) from $6.1 million (23 cents) a year ago.

Revenue rose 5 percent, to $158 million from $149.9 million.

In the first half, Media General's profit slipped 16 percent, to $15.1 million (58 cents) from $17.9 million (69 cents) a year ago.

Revenue edged up 2 percent in the half, to $306.1 million from $299.2 million in 1989.

Preston Corp., the Eastern Shore-based trucking and transportation company, said higher wage, workers' compensation, group health and other operating expenses helped push its earnings down 42 percent in the second quarter and 68 percent in the first half.

The Preston, Md.-based company said it earned $1.2 million (21 cents) in the second quarter, compared with $2.1 million (37 cents) in the year-ago second quarter.

Revenue rose 6.9 percent in the quarter, to $167.4 million from $156.6 million.

In the first half, Preston earned $1.02 million (18 cents), compared with 1989 first-half profits of $3.2 million (55 cents).

Revenue rose 6.3 percent in the half, to $328.4 million from $309 million.

The company said its Preston Trucking and Saia Motor Freight subsidiaries increased market share and operating profitability during the quarter, and it expects earnings to improve because of higher tonnage levels and rate increases that took effect in June and July.

Baltimore Bancorp, the parent of the Bank of Baltimore, reported a second-quarter profit of $5.4 million (42 cents), a 5 percent drop from the 1989 second quarter when the company earned $5.7 million (44 cents).

For the first six months of the year, the bank said, it earned $10.5 million (82 cents), down just slightly from the $10.7 million (82 cents) earned in the same period last year.

Harry L. Robinson, chairman of Baltimore Bancorp, said the report will help take some of the pressure off Baltimore Bancorp management to sell the company to First Maryland Bancorp, which has been pursuing the company for nearly three months.

As evidence of the bank's strength, Robinson said the bank's loan losses in the second quarter were 0.21 percent of total average loans, compared with a national bank average of 1.16 percent and 0.75 percent for banks in the Baltimore region.

However, the bank company said it is still acting conservatively, making a special $2 million addition to its loan loss reserve in the second quarter.

Robinson said the provision was made as part of the company's efforts to boost its loan loss reserve to 1 percent of total loans. The reserve now is 0.85 percent of total loans.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., blaming higher maintenance and operating costs and lower profits from its real estate subsidiary, reported sharply lower earnings for the first half of 1990.

Revenue for the quarterly and six-month period ending in June were higher, 6.5 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, earnings fell 40.6 percent for the quarter and 35.4 percent for the six months.

The company reported that quarterly earnings fell to $26.1 million (20 cents) from $44 million (45 cents) in the same period last year.

For the first six months of the year, per-share earnings were down 46 percent compared with the same period last year.

For the 12 months that ended June 30, BG&E's profits fell to $235.8 million ($2.47), a 19.5 percent decline from 1989 earnings of $293 million ($3.30).

Charles Shivery, BG&E's vice president for corporate finance, said the lower quarterly profits resulted partly from mild June weather that was unfavorable for utilities, which have been reporting lower earnings in general.