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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Business Briefcase

April 30, 2003

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Sauer profits rise

Manufacturing equipment maker Sauer-Danfoss Inc. Tuesday posted a higher first-quarter profit but said orders and backlogs were up only slightly, reflecting weakness and uncertainties in the markets it serves.

Net income rose 50 percent for the first quarter of 2003 to $10.2 million, or 21 cents per share, compared to first-quarter 2002 net income of $6.8 million, or 14 cents per share.

The company, which operates a manufacturing facility in Lawrence, said it continued to see little change in its markets, with no clear signs of an upturn.

Discrimination: Settlement could cost insurer up to $90 million

A federal judge has approved a settlement of a lawsuit that accused Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of discriminating against blacks and other minorities in policy sales.

The settlement could cost Met Life up to $90 million, depending on how many people eventually file claims.

The lawsuit, brought in 2000, focused on the sale of industrial or burial insurance policies.

Premiums were small and collected door-to-door by MetLife employees on a weekly or monthly basis, a collection system the company said helped less affluent policy owners who could not make larger payments. But the lawsuit was brought after minorities said they were paying higher premiums than whites for the same coverage.

Pharmaceuticals: Pfizer acquisition results in closing of four plants

Pfizer Inc. is closing four sites near Chicago that employed 1,500 people and is shifting some employees out of Connecticut to cut costs in the wake of its $57 billion acquisition of Pharmacia Corp.

The Chicago-area sites, which belonged to Pharmacia, will be closed during the next 18 months.

It was not clear how many jobs would be lost as a result of the closings. Pfizer spokeswoman Mariann Caprino said some employees at the sites, which mostly conduct research and development, would be offered jobs outside of Illinois.

Defense: Northrop Grumman profits up in first quarter

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman reported a profit Tuesday for the first quarter on strong performance from recent acquisitions.

The company that bought TRW Inc. last year earned $253 million, or $1.34 per share, in the January-March period in contrast to a loss of $283 million, or $2.56 per share, a year ago.

The nation's third-largest defense contractor said income from continuing operations was $174 million.

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