* Orbital Imaging, a Dulles-based satellite firm, said it signed an agreement in principle that will allow it to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company's "term sheet" agreement with its creditors committee will be submitted for bankruptcy court approval. The company said the proposal calls for it to settle its litigation with Orbital Sciences, its former parent company, in return for more working capital and other consideration. Orbital Imaging said it expects to gain court approval for the plan by mid-February.
* Four former officers of Network Technology Group, a Baltimore fiber-optics firm, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they defrauded a local bank and two investment companies by falsifying bank statements. The 10-count indictment charges the four with mail, wire and bank fraud. Those charged were Michele Tobin, former chief executive, of Avon, Colo.; Victor Giordani Jr., former chief operating officer, of Baltimore; Thomas Bray, former chief financial officer, of Kingsville, Md.; and Beverly Baker, former controller, of Catonsville, Md. The indictment charges the officers with defrauding Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust, Smith Whiley Co. of Connecticut and the Abell Foundation, a Baltimore nonprofit agency. The indictment alleges that the officers didn't record all of Network Technology's expenses, making the company look more profitable than it was. Officers also falsified accounts receivable, diverted payments without reducing receivables and created false receivables, according to the indictment. That skewed the company's statements by more than $2 million. It also was used to secure investments of $1.8 million by Smith Whiley and the Abell Foundation last spring, the indictment alleged. Further, Mercantile gave Network Technology a line of credit based on the false information, prosecutors said. Network Technology closed in July, when a new chief executive was hired and reported the alleged fraud to authorities.
* Electronic Data Systems' credit rating was cut by Fitch Ratings after the company was told late last week that a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry has become a formal investigation. Fitch said it lowered the company's senior, unsecured rating to A- from A and its rating outlook remains negative. Its commercial paper rating was cut to F2 from F1. The investment-grade ratings cover about $5 billion in long- and short-term debt, a Fitch analyst said. Moody's Investors Service gave the company a two-level trim, to A3, in November. The SEC wants details on EDS's purchase and settlement of stock-option contracts and events before the company's Sept. 18 forecast that third-quarter profit would be a fifth of what it had expected. Fitch said the investigation could limit the company's access to capital markets and cause delays in contract signings.
Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, washingtonpost.com, Bloomberg News and the Associated Press