Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

News briefs – Business edition

AAA rating affirmed
Although beset by financial troubles, Maryland officials received some good news on Wednesday: All three bond-rating agencies have affirmed the state’s Triple A bond rating, State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced. The state is preparing to sell approximately $800 million worth of general obligation bonds Wednesday at the Board of Public Works meeting. Maryland is one of only seven states to hold the coveted AAA rating — the highest possible — from Moody’s Investors, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Having a Triple A rating keeps the state’s borrowing cost relatively low.

Highways and byways
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s Office of Tourism will receive nearly $5.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration to enhance and market Maryland’s historic byways, the governor’s office announced. The funds were awarded in conjunction with three national celebrations that begin in 2011: the Civil War sesquicentennial; the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner; and the centennial commemoration of the life and legacy of Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman. The FHWA awarded grants totaling $40.7 million to 43 states for 160 projects; Maryland’s amount was the highest, officials said.

Host Hotels’ hard times
Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. said Wednesday that its third-quarter funds from operations declined, weighed down by an interest expense and impairment charges as revenue, occupancy and room rates continued to slip. The Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trust said funds from operations fell to $66 million, or 11 cents per share, from $170 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted FFO of 8 cents per share. Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 11 tumbled 20 percent to $912 million from $1.14 billion, as room and food and beverage revenue declined.

Fertility clinic contract
IntegraMed America Inc., of Purchase, N.Y., announced its fertility practice partner, Rockville-based Shady Grove Fertility, has been picked by the University of Maryland School of Medicine to manage the university’s endocrinology and fertility services division in Baltimore. The agreement allows clinicians, students and patients to continue to access the Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility Services clinic and personnel, while also providing access to Shady Grove’s extensive fertility practice, ambulatory surgery center and embryology laboratory. Shady Grove offers fertility and reproductive services from 11 locations in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia region.

GP to aid DoD unit
General Physics Corp., of Elkridge, announced it has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide learning management system support to the Defense Security Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The contract consists of a base year and two option years. GP said the estimated value of the contract is approximately $4 million if both option years are exercised. Under the contract, GP will assist DSS with support of the learning management system program, including onsite administration support, project management, configuration management support, operational and testing support and software customization development.

Energetics tasked
Energetics Inc., of Columbia, a subsidiary of Virginia-based VSE Corp., said it was awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide mission support services to the department’s Voluntary Private-Sector Preparedness Program. The total value of the new contract over its one-year base period and two option years is $3.4 million. Under the contract, Energetics will support the PS-Prep Program in its mission of promoting private-sector preparedness in 18 critical infrastructure and resource areas. Energetics, a technical and management consulting firm, specializes in energy, environmental, homeland security and global health issues.

Smith building dedication
The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital will hold a dedication ceremony on Friday for the 207,000-square-foot, $105 million, ultramodern Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building at the hospital’s East Baltimore campus. ;The ceremony coincides with the 80-year anniversary of the original Wilmer building’s first dedication. The new building, named for its principal donors, opened in August; it includes six of the most modern ophthalmic operating rooms in the world and five floors dedicated to research. It also features works by three prominent artists — sculptor John Safer, painter Clarice Smith and landscape painter Wolf Kahn — whose failing sight was restored by Dr. Morton Goldberg, former head of the Wilmer Eye Institute.

Help for Yellow Ribbon
Metastorm Inc., a Baltimore-based developer of business automation and Web-based workflow software, announced that the Army National Guard has used Metastorm software to streamline processes in support of the Yellow Ribbon program. Metastorm donated the software specifically to help Reston, Va.-based GAP Solutions Inc., a contractor to the Army National Guard, provide coordination and support of services to returning military personnel as they reintegrate into society. Metastorm expanded GAPSI’s existing Metastorm software license agreement to cover the Yellow Ribbon Project at no additional cost to GAPSI or the Army National Guard.