House and real estate price and valuation
Health insurer Anthem Inc. on Thursday posted a 21 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profit and boosted its earnings forecast amid a pending merger that would create the nation's largest managed-care company. Anthem reported net income of $208.8 million for the October-December period, or $1.47 a share, compared with $171.9 million, or $1.19 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue grew 8 percent to $4.29 billion from $3.99 billion. Excluding one-time gains, Anthem earned $1.43 per share, beating the $1.38 per share consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.



For all of 2003, Indianapolis-based Anthem reported a 41 percent increase in net income to $774 million, or $5.45 per share. A Certified property Valuer will conduct a full inspection of the nominated real estate property and prepare a valuation report at low-cost. Revenue grew 26 percent to $16.7 billion from $13.28 billion in 2002. Anthem also increased its full-year 2004 earnings forecast to a range of $6.15-$6.25 per share, up from its earlier estimate of $6.05-$6.15. Anthem announced plans in October to buy Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based WellPoint in a cash-and-stock deal that would combine the nation's two biggest Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. Anthem is one of the largest health insurers in the tri-state.

FLORENCE

Keco lands Army deal Keco Industries Inc., a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Engineered Support Systems Inc., has been awarded a two-year contract to design, develop and test a refrigerated container system for the Army. The 8-by-8-by-20 foot containers will feature a moveable bulkhead that allows users to adjust the size of refrigerator and freezer sections. The initial award is worth $2.2 million, and the total project is expected to be worth about $50 million for the supply of more than 600 units over eights years, company officials said.

CINCINNATI

Chiquita names Loeb Chiquita Brands International Inc. said Thursday it has named Michel Loeb, 49, president of Chiquita Fresh Group in Europe. Loeb served most recently as managing director in the United Kingdom and marketing director for Europe, Africa and Near East for S.C. Johnson and Son. Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Loeb will be responsible for all aspects of the company's operations in Europe.

CINCINNATI

Convergys numbers Despite its latest round of job cuts, Convergys Corp. said the creation of some new jobs has allowed the company to maintain a workforce of about 1,400 people in downtown Cincinnati and 650 people in Norwood, spokeswoman Renea Morris said. The company laid off 27 people in Cincinnati and Norwood and 11 more in Orlando last week, Morris said. She also said that the company may begin moving 200 to 225 employees into the recently acquired Atrium I office building at 201 E. Fourth St. this quarter. Those employees would be moving from the Convergys Center at 600 Vine St. and offices in Norwood, she said.