An article yesterday misstated the reporting period for Washington Gas Light Co.'s quarterly earnings. The three months ended Dec. 31 were the company's first quarter of fiscal 2000. (Published 01/28/2000)

MedImmune Inc. of Gaithersburg said it earned $34 million, or 51 cents a share, for the three months that ended Dec. 31, compared with $69 million ($1.20 a share) for the same period of 1998.

The decline of the bottom line, however, obscured rapid gains at MedImmune, the Washington region's most successful biotechnology company. The company took a large one-time charge in the fourth quarter related to its acquisition of U.S. Bioscience Inc. Excluding that and other one-time charges, MedImmune said it earned $49.4 million, compared with $19.8 million for the same period of 1998.

The company attributed its progress to healthy sales of Synagis, its high-tech drug to combat a respiratory virus in babies. Sales of Synagis were $151.1 million in the forth quarter, a 63 percent increase from the same period in 1998.

For the year, MedImmune earned $93.4 million ($1.47), compared with $47.2 million (83 cents) for 1998. Revenue in 1999 jumped 69 percent, to $383.4 million, $293 million of which were sales of Synagis.

* Norfolk Southern Corp. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 81 percent as the railroad dealt with congestion problems related to its takeover of Conrail lines.

The company also announced a voluntary early-retirement program that it said was its first step toward containing operating expenses, which it blamed for the earnings decline. About 1,180 employees are eligible, the railroad said.

Norfolk Southern said it earned $31 million (8 cents a share) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $160 million (42 cents) a year earlier. First Call/Thomson Financial said Wall Street expected the company to earn 10 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $1.47 billion, up 43 percent from $1.03 billion a year earlier.

Norfolk Southern Corp., based in Norfolk, is the holding company for the Norfolk Southern Railway, which has extensive freight service east of the Mississippi River.

The October-December period was the second full quarter in which Norfolk Southern operated its portion of Conrail lines. Norfolk Southern and Richmond-based CSX carved up Conrail's northeastern freight routes in a $10.3 billion takeover last June.

For all of 1999, Norfolk Southern earned $239 million (63 cents), compared with $734 million ($1.93) in 1998. Revenue was $5.2 billion, up 23 percent from $4.22 billion in 1998.

* Washington Gas Light Co. said its fourth-quarter earnings rose almost 59 percent as both deliveries of natural gas and nonutility revenues increased in the last three months of the year.

The District-based company said fourth-quarter net income was $39.8 million (85 cents a share) on operating revenue of $310.5 million, compared with net income of $24.9 million (55 cents) on operating revenue of $297.3 million in the year-earlier period.

For the all of 1999, the company earned $83.6 million ($1.77) on operating revenue of $985.3 million, compared with $55.4 million ($1.23) on operating revenue of $970.4 million.

* General Dynamics of Falls Church said earnings rose almost 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999 from the same period of 1998.

The defense and aerospace company posted net income of $198 million (98 cents a share) on net sales of $2.7 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31. By contrast, General Dynamics earned $160 million (79 cents) on $2.2 billion in revenue for the year-ago period.

Revenue and profit were up sharply in the company's aerospace segment, which includes Gulfstream business jets, offsetting a drop in marine systems for the quarter.

The company ended the year with a funded backlog of $11.7 billion, up from $10.6 billion at the end of 1998.

* Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings Inc. reported net income of $6 million (29 cents a share) on revenue of $90.9 million in the fourth quarter of 1999, a 22 percent decline from net income of $7.7 million (36 cents) on revenue of $78 million in the same period of 1998.

Company officials said higher fuel costs and increased competition with its regional airline service drove down profitability.

For the year, Atlantic earned $28.3 million ($1.32) on revenue of $347.4 million, compared with net income of $30.4 million ($1.42) on revenue of $289.9 million in 1998.

Atlantic Coast, based in Dulles, operates a fleet of 84 aircraft under the names United Express and Delta Connection.

* T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., the big Baltimore mutual fund operator, reported a profit of $239.4 million ($1.85 a share) last year, up 37 percent from the $174.1 million ($1.34) it earned in 1998.

The strong performance received a major boost in the fourth quarter, when its profit jumped to $70.1 million (55 cents), from $45 million (35 cents) in the same period a year earlier.

The firm benefited from the surging stock market as assets under management climbed to $179.9 billion as of Dec. 31, from $147.8 billion a year earlier. Revenue in 1999 climbed 17 percent, topping $1 billion for the first time, while expenses rose 8 percent, the company said.

* Axent Technologies Inc. of Rockville said it earned $8.3 million (29 cents a share) in the fourth quarter on revenue of $36.5 million, compared with net income of $7.9 million (29 cents) on revenue of $34.1 million in the same period of 1998.

For all of 1999, the electronic information security firm said it lost $590,000 on revenue of $112.8 million, compared with earnings $6.4 million (24 cents) on revenue of $101 million in 1998.

The fourth-quarter and year-end result reflect amortization of intangible assets and one-time items, which had the effect of reducing 1999 net income. Fourth-quarter figures have not been audited.

CAPTION: NORFOLK SOUTHERN

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