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Part of McDonnell Douglas Unit Will Be Sold

Times Staff Writer

McDonnell Douglas Information Systems Co., continuing to shed businesses as part of a financial restructuring, said Thursday that it has agreed to sell its hospital computer business to a North Carolina company owned by American Express Co. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Information Systems, an Irvine-based unit of McDonnell Douglas Corp., is selling its Health Systems unit to Systems Associates Inc., a Charlotte, N.C., company that also markets computer systems used to manage hospital operations. The Health Systems group is based in St. Louis and employs 1,000 people, only a few of them in Orange County.

“The decision to sell our Health Systems unit was one of many moves made in the past 7 months to focus the direction and strengthen the competitive position” of the Information Systems unit, said Jeremy J. Causley, company president.

Last October, McDonnell Douglas announced plans to reorganize the financially struggling Informations Systems unit, which lost $76 million in 1988 on revenue of nearly $1.3 billion. At the same time, Information Systems laid off 700 people, including about 60 in Orange County.

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Information Systems, which employs 10,000 people worldwide, is an amalgam of nine high-technology companies that manufacture and market computers and computer services.

“Although the U.S. health information systems market is strong and vital, pursuing this business no longer fits our overall strategic direction,” Causley said.

Nissen Davis, a company spokesman in Irvine, would not disclose a revenue figure for the Health Systems unit, but said the operation is profitable.

He said the Health Systems unit is larger than the company’s former Vitek Systems business, a medical technology firm that McDonnell Douglas sold in December for about $110 million.

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