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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 13, 201512:00 PM EST

2014 a profitable year for Jacksonville-based companies

by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Last year turned out to be very profitable for Jacksonville-based public companies.

As most public companies filed their annual reports by the March 31 deadline, a look at local companies show only two recorded a net loss in fiscal 2014.

One was ParkerVision Inc., which hasn’t produced any revenue in years. ParkerVision’s situation has been well documented, as the company is developing technology it says greatly improves the performance of wireless devices, but it hasn’t found a manufacturer that wants to use it.

ParkerVision also is seeking money from patent infringement lawsuits.

The other company to lose money was a relatively new firm, Drone Aviation Holding Corp.

Drone Aviation, which produces specialized lighter-than-air aerostats and tethered drones, became public last year by merging with an existing public company. It recorded less than $1 million in revenue in 2014.

Of course, one other local company also lost money last year, Body Central Corp. The fashion retailer was forced by its creditors to shut down in January, so it never filed its year-end financial report.

Body Central reported a net loss of $28.70 a share for the first nine months of 2014.

For the other Jacksonville-based companies, the earnings chart shows their adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2014 and the growth in those earnings over 2013.

The adjusted earnings per share reflect earnings excluding one-time gains or losses, which is the metric financial analysts use to evaluate companies.

For Jacksonville-based companies covered by Wall Street analysts, the adjusted earnings in the chart are the figures reported by Thomson Financial, which tracks data from analyst reports.

For companies not covered by analysts, the earnings data comes from their annual reports.

Landstar System Inc. topped the chart with 27 percent adjusted earnings growth in 2014. The trucking company grew its earnings as its revenue passed $3 billion for the first time.

Landstar’s total revenue was surpassed by three other Jacksonville-based companies: CSX Corp., Fidelity National Financial Inc. and Fidelity National Information Services Inc.

All three of those companies have been included in the Fortune 500 list of the nation’s largest companies, and they should be again this year when Fortune magazine issues its new list, which will be based on 2014 revenue.

How Jacksonville-based companies performed in 2014

2014 total revenue (in millions)

Company Revenue Growth
CSX $12,669 5%
Fidelity National Financial $8,024 8%
Fidelity National Information $6,414 6%
Landstar System $3,185 20%
Stein Mart $1,318 4%
EverBank Financial $1,071 -15%
Rayonier Advanced Mat. $958 -9%
Rayonier Inc. $604 -9% Group $544 11%
Regency Centers $538 10%
FRP Holdings $160 15%
Atlantic Coast Financial $35 -2%
Jacksonville Bancorp $23 -6%
FirstAtlantic Bancorp $22 -4%
International Baler $20 23%
Drone Aviation $0.86 1%
ParkerVision $0 NM

Adjusted earnings per share growth

Company Revenue Growth
Landstar System $3.07 27%
Regency Centers $1.60 14% Group $2.41 13%
Fidelity National Information $3.10 10%
EverBank Financial $1.10 8%
International Baler $0.14 8%
CSX $1.92 5%
Stein Mart $0.72 -1%
Fidelity National Financial $1.72 -21%
FRP Holdings $1.03 -36%
FirstAtlantic Bancorp $0.42 -38%
Rayonier Advanced Mat. $2.51 NM
Rayonier Inc. $0.50 NM
Jacksonville Bancorp $0.33 NM
Atlantic Coast Financial $0.09 NM
Drone Aviation -$0.15 NM
ParkerVision -$0.24 NM

NM – not measurable


FIS lowers earnings outlook

Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, lowered its earnings outlook last week because of the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on its foreign operations.

FIS, which provides technology services for banks, is now projecting earnings of 64 cents to 66 cents a share for the first quarter and $3.27 to $3.37 for all of 2015. It had previously forecast earnings of 67 cents to 72 cents for the first quarter and $3.37 to $3.49 for the year.

The company said the decline in value of the Brazilian Real, the Euro and the British Pound, will impact revenue from overseas operations.

Revenue will also be impacted by its decision to not renew a contract “that did not meet its profitability metrics and was inconsistent with its go forward strategy,” the company said. FIS provided no other details of that contract.

FIS’ stock opened $2.21 lower at $65.87 Friday morning after the late Thursday announcement. It closed Friday at $65.50, down $2.58 on the day.


Firehouse Subs adds staff as chain grows

Jacksonville-based Firehouse Subs last week said it has added 27 workers to its headquarters staff to support its growth, bringing total employment in that office to 92.

The chain of sub sandwich shops grew by 149 restaurants in 2014 and now has 870 restaurants in 43 states.

The company said it hopes to reach the 1,000-restaurant milestone by the end of the year.


Easter helps Stein Mart sales

Stein Mart Inc. last week reported a big jump in March sales, helped by the relatively early Easter holiday.

Total sales for the five-week period ended April 4 rose 14.2 percent to $155.8 million and comparable-store sales (sales at stores open for more than one year) increased by 11.2 percent.

Because of year-to-year shifts in the date of Easter, which impacts the fashion retailer’s sales, Stein Mart has said in the past that it’s better to look at combined March and April sales to evaluate its performance at this time of the year.

Stein Mart had 270 stores in operation at the end of March, up from 263 a year earlier.


APR exiting Yemen

After announcing in December it was pulling out of Libya, APR Energy plc last week announced it is ceasing operations in Yemen “due to escalating conflict in the country.”

Jacksonville-based APR builds interim power plants on a fast-track basis in overseas markets.

APR said its pullout from Libya will cause its earnings this year to be “significantly” below expectations, but it did not give any indication of how the pullout in Yemen will impact its business.

“The safety of our people is always APR Energy’s number one priority, and as such, the management team believes that this decision is in the best long-term interest of our people, company and shareholders,” the company said in a news release.


Auto parts recycler plans IPO

A Miami-based auto parts recycling company with a Jacksonville subsidiary filed plans for an initial public offering last week.

Fenix Parts Inc. was formed in 2014 to acquire eight companies engaged in the recycling and resale of automotive products, according to its registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

One of those companies is GO Auto Recycling, which was founded in Jacksonville in 2008. GO Auto has 42 full-time employees and had revenue of about $10 million last year, according to the IPO filing.

The eight companies combined produced revenue of $108 million last year.

Although its headquarters office is in Miami, most of Fenix’s recycling facilities are in the Northeastern U.S. and Southeastern Canada. The Jacksonville facility is the only one in the Southeastern U.S.

Officers of Fenix currently own about 46 percent of the company. The filing does not say how many shares would be sold in the IPO.

Fenix intends to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “FENX.”


Daytona 500 sends International Speedway earnings up

Daytona Beach-based International Speedway Corp. said a successful Daytona 500 led to better than expected first-quarter earnings, which sent its stock to its highest level in more than six years.

International Speedway, which owns the Daytona International Speedway and 12 other motorsports facilities, reported adjusted earnings of 36 cents a share for the first quarter ended Feb. 28, up from 33 cents last year and 7 cents higher than the average forecast of analysts, according to Thomson.

The company said attendance was up at the Daytona 500 race in February and some new features at the track for fans also helped earnings.

“Feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding the new facility, with guests singling out escalators, wider, more comfortable seats and premier sight lines among their favorite new amenities,” CEO Lesa France Kennedy said in a news release.

International Speedway also last week said its board of directors approved a 2-cent increase in the stock’s annual dividend to 26 cents a share.

International Speedway’s stock rose $1.45 to $35.30 Tuesday after the earnings report and reached as high as 36.50 last week, its highest level since September 2008.


TNT Express agrees to buyout, again

TNT Express N.V., a Dutch company that has been up for sale for years, agreed to a $4.8 billion buyout last week by FedEx Corp.

TNT Express is a package delivery company that was spun off from a company called TNT NV, which had a logistics division with its North American headquarters in Jacksonville.

The logistics business was sold in 2006 to private equity firm Apollo Management, which renamed it CEVA Logistics.

TNT Express had agreed to a $6.8 billion buyout by United Parcel Service Inc. in 2012, but UPS called off the deal after the European Commission said it would oppose it on concerns about competition.

FedEx and TNT said in a news release they are “confident that anti-trust concerns, if any, can be addressed adequately in a timely fashion.”

They expect to close the deal in the first half of 2016.

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