Preston Corp., the Eastern Shore trucking company, lost $18.8 million last year, compared with $850,000 in 1989. Most of the loss was caused by the closing of two subsidiaries in the third quarter, but business continued to be soft in the company's final quarter of the year.
Revenue rose 4 percent to $643.1 million from $618.3 million in 1989.
The year's loss included a $17.8 million after-tax reserve in the third quarter connected to the closing of two of the Preston, Md.-based company's subsidiaries, Reeves Transportation Co. and Pioneer Transportation Systems.
In the fourth quarter, Preston lost $316,000, compared with a $4.2 million loss in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue fell 7 percent to $143.2 million from $154.1 million a year earlier.
"A sharper-than-expected decline in tonnage during December was principally responsible for the fourth quarter's operating results," said President William B. Potter. "Due to the rapidly softening economy, we experienced a tonnage drop in each of the companies that was significantly more than anticipated."
Life Technologies Inc. reported that its profit rose 17 percent last year to $15.4 million, a record for the Gaithersburg biotechnology firm, from $13.2 million in 1989.
On a per-share basis, net income was $1.07 a share, compared with 93 cents in 1989. Revenue rose 13 percent to $151.6 million from $134.5 million.
In the year's final quarter, net income rose 45 percent to $4.8 million (33 cents) from $3.3 million (23 cents) in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 21 percent to $39.7 million from $32.9 million a year earlier.
Avemco Corp., the Frederick insurance holding company, earned 8 percent less last year than in 1989. The company's net income was $12.5 million ($1.59 per share), compared with $13.6 million ($1.55) in 1989. Revenue was down 15 percent to $79.3 million from $93.3 million.
The company said light claim activity led to a favorable final quarter, especially in comparison with last year's final quarter, when claims stemming from Hurricane Hugo and other events meant big payouts. Profit was up 23 percent to $3.2 million (42 cents) in the last quarter from $2.6 million (31 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue fell 15 percent to $18.3 million from $21.4 million a year earlier.
GRC International of Vienna made a profit of $757,000 (8 cents per share) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $4.5 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
Revenue in the quarter, the second of GRC's fiscal year, fell 7 percent to $27.1 million from $29.1 million a year earlier.