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March 03, 2000

* Litton Industries Inc. said it will form a new company in a move to expand its ship maintenance and upkeep operations. The Woodland Hills-based company said the new stand-alone business, Litton Ship Systems Full Service Center, will operate in conjunction with its shipyards in Mississippi and New Orleans. Analysts said Litton will be able to go after more ship-related contracts with the new company. Litton said this week that its fiscal second-quarter net income fell 16% in part because of higher-than-expected costs in certain units. Litton shares fell 25 cents to close at $29.50 on the NYSE.

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Mercury Air Group Inc., which sells jet fuel to airlines, said the company will take a $1.6-million charge in its fiscal third quarter to cover debt owed to it by Tower Air Inc., which this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection. The charge, equal to 23 cents a share, will "substantially reduce" earnings in the quarter that ends March 31. The Los Angeles-based company had net income of $1.1 million, or 13 cents, in the 1999 fiscal third quarter. Its shares fell 19 cents to close at $7.94 on the American Stock Exchange.

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