Judge Approves Riggs Settlement

Riggs National Corp., a unit of PNC Financial Services Group, won a judge's approval to settle lawsuits that claimed directors allowed the bank to become a haven for "terrorism funding."

Riggs and PNC agreed to pay shareholders $2.7 million and their lawyers $1.1 million to resolve suits over the District-based bank's courting of business from diplomats and political leaders, investors' lawyers said.

Riggs pleaded guilty in January to allowing former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the leaders of Equatorial Guinea to hide money in Riggs accounts. PNC bought Riggs in May.


WGL Postpones Earnings Announcement

WGL Holdings postponed its quarterly earnings release and said the profits of a subsidiary "may have been understated" since the start of 2003. The District-based company said that the accounting problem concerned Washington Gas Energy Services, a marketer of unregulated gas and electricity, and that the amounts are "not expected to be material." It said the problem does not affect the earnings of its core regulated utility, Washington Gas. A new date for the earnings announcement was not set.


American Capital Plans Share Offering

American Capital Strategies, a Bethesda-based buyout firm that invests in middle-market companies, said it will offer 7 million shares in a bid to raise money and pay down debt.

The company said 5 million shares will be offered from interested third-parties and 2 million from the company itself.

American Capital said it plans to use "substantially all the net proceeds" from the sale to reduce borrowings under current credit agreements.

Shares of the company rose 24 cents to close at $38.87 on the Nasdaq.

Discovery Communications' Revenue Rises

Discovery Communications' third-quarter revenue increased 15 percent, to $639 million from $557 million in the third quarter of 2004, on increased subscription fees and advertising sales both in the United States and internationally. The results were announced by Discovery Holding, a holding company for Liberty Media's 50 percent share in Discovery Communications. Due to ratings problems at TLC, one of Discovery's flagship U.S. networks, Discovery Holding lowered its earnings guidance for the year. Privately held Discovery Communications does not report earnings.

Richard Greenfield, a Fulcrum Global Partners analyst called the results "disappointing" and said he was "increasingly troubled" by the lack of access to Discovery Holding's management, which has not held an analyst conference call since the company was spun off from Liberty Media earlier this year. Shares of Discovery Holding closed at $14.35, up 9 cents.

TVI, a Glenn Dale company that makes equipment such as tents for first responders, earned $1 million (3 cents a share), down from $1.5 million (5 cents). Revenue fell 24 percent, to $7 million, which the company attributed to a slowdown in purchasing of emergency equipment. TVI also said it acquired SafetyTech International of Frederick, which produces air purifying respirators for use against biohazards, for $16.9 million in cash and stock. Shares of TVI fell 19 cents, to close at $3.64.

Gladstone Investment earned $1.5 million (9 cents a share) in its first full quarter in operation since its inception and initial stock offering in June. The McLean company, which makes equity investments in and loans to mid-size private companies, said that it made loans totaling $40.5 million to eight companies. The company has $231 million in total assets, mostly cash, and said it expects income to increase as it makes more investments with the proceeds from its stock offering.

Farmer Mac, the District-based company that backs farm mortgages, earned $7.6 million (67 cents a share), down from $8.6 million (70 cents).

GSE Systems, a Baltimore provider of simulation and training for power plants and government agencies, lost $1 million (12 cents per share), compared with a loss of $137,000 (2 cents). Revenue fell 37 percent, to $4.6 million.

QuadraMed of Reston, a provider of information technology to the health care industry, lost $4 million (13 cents a share), compared with a loss of $16.3 million (44 cents). Revenue was $30 million, down from $31 million.

CompuDyne, an Annapolis provider of security technology, lost $5.2 million (65 cents a share), compared with a loss of $1.9 million (23 cents). Revenue was $33.5 million, up slightly from $33.4 million.

USA Mobility, an Alexandria provider of pager services, earned $355,000 (1 cent per share), down from $6.7 million (34 cents). Revenue increased 39 percent, to $152 million, but the company said that was solely due to the addition of Metrocall Holdings to acquirer Arch Wireless to create USA Mobility last November.

BioVeris recorded a narrower loss for its fiscal second quarter. The Gaithersburg biotechnology company lost $6.5 million (24 a share cents) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a $45.6 million loss ($1.71) during the comparable period last year, when the firm wrote off $33.9 million after exiting a joint venture. Revenue fell 23 percent, to $6.1 million.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Riggs National Corp. faced lawsuits over the District-based bank's courting of business from diplomats and political leaders.