Chindex International Inc. said the SARS flu virus hurt its business in China last year as it swung to a loss.

The Bethesda health care company said it lost $484,000 (13 cents a share) in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year ended March 31, compared with earnings of $76,000 (2 cents) in the comparable period a year ago. Revenue rose to $25 million from $21.8 million.

For the year, the company lost $2 million (53 cents) compared with earnings of $259,000 (7 cents a share). Revenue rose to $88.2 million from $70.6 million.

The company said the flu virus slowed business and hurt sales of the medical equipment it sells in China and delayed the opening of a hospital it is building in Shanghai.

* McCormick & Co., the Sparks spicemaker, credited an acquisition and good performances from its consumer and industrial businesses for record sales and profit during the second quarter.

For the second quarter of the fiscal year ended May 31, earnings rose to $42.9 million (30 cents a share) from $40 million (28 cents). Revenue rose to $596.2 million from $527.9 million.

For the six-month period ended May 31, the company earned $81 million (57 cents), compared with $75.1 million (53 cents.) Revenue rose to $1.2 billion from $1 billion.

The company bought New Orleans spicemaker Zatarain's last year, which added 11 percent to sales in the second quarter.