Roundup: Sallie Mae, Constellation, Micros Systems

*Micros Systems said Thursday its fiscal 2008 fourth-quarter profit grew 12 percent, to $30.7 million (37 cents a share) from $27.4 million (33 cents) in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue rose 16 percent, to $256.6 million from $221.6 million.

Revenue grew in every category, rising 21 percent in the company's service division, its largest unit.

For the full year, the Columbia-based maker of information systems for the hospitality industry earned $101.3 million ($1.21), up from $80 million (97 cents) in fiscal 2007. Revenue rose to $954.2 million from $785.7 million.

Micros Systems expects profit of $1.39 to $1.50 per share in fiscal 2009, including stock-option expenses. Excluding stock option expenses, it expects profit of $1.53 to $1.64 per share. Micros also said it expects fiscal 2009 revenue of $1.08 billion to $1.1 billion.

*SLM cut the amount it can borrow for education loans through two banking agreements by $6.3 billion, or 20 percent, because it has other funding sources.

SLM, or Sallie Mae, is reducing a credit line used for federally backed loans by $4.1 billion, leaving $21.9 billion, the Reston company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Instead, Sallie Mae will tap the U.S. Education Department's new Loan Participation Purchase Program as a source of financing for this school year. Another credit arrangement, for loans not backed by the government, will be lowered by $2.2 billion, leaving $3.8 billion, because the company has less-costly options, said Sallie Mae spokesman Tom Joyce.

The company hasn't lowered the amount it plans to make available to students, he said.

*Constellation Energy Group plans to sell its natural-gas production assets to improve its ability to post collateral for energy trading. The sale of the gas-production business, worth as much as $1 billion, might provide a pretax gain of as much as $150 million, chief executive Mayo Shattuck told investors in Baltimore. The coal-trading and freight unit, worth about $125 million, or $75 million above book value, may also be sold, he said.

By Terri Rupar  |  August 28, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  | Category:  Roundup
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