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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 10, 201612:00 PM EST

Advanced Disposal prices IPO before storm

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by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

As the rest of Northeast Florida frantically prepared for a hurricane, Advanced Disposal Services Inc. finally completed its initial public offering.

The company’s sale of 19.25 million shares of common stock was priced at $18 a share Wednesday evening and the stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

The price was at the low end of the company’s hoped-for range of $18 to $21, normally an indication investors weren’t too excited about the waste management company.

However, the stock jumped higher when trading began Thursday morning, opening at $20.50. Investors may have sensed a bargain.

The stock fluctuated throughout the day, trading as high as $21.50, before closing Thursday at $20.

The company said it would take in about $325 million in net proceeds from the sale, which it will use to pay off debt.

Advanced Disposal, headquartered in Nocatee in St. Johns County, says it is the fourth-largest solid waste company in the U.S. It reported revenue of $692 million in the first six months of this year.

The company originally tried to launch its IPO in February but pulled it back because of poor stock market conditions. The market was much stronger as it completed the IPO last week.

Research firm Renaissance Capital reported that nine of 29 IPOs priced above their forecast range during the third quarter and only four traded lower on their first day of trading. The average IPO rose 21 percent in price on the first day of trading, it said.

Although the initial price may have been a disappointment, Advanced Disposal’s trading activity shows the trend of rising prices for IPOs is continuing.

Advanced Disposal’s stock trades under the ticker “ADSW.”

Brexit rebound helps stocks

While IPOs did well in the third quarter, it also was a strong three months for existing stocks. The stocks of most Jacksonville-based public companies rose in price during the quarter.

That shouldn’t be a surprise when you think about the timing. The end of the second quarter coincided with the U.K.’s Brexit vote, which depressed stock prices at the end of June.

It was only natural that stocks would rebound and the overall market did improve during the third quarter.

A couple of Jacksonville stocks did particularly well.

EverBank Financial Corp. was obviously a big winner, after agreeing to a buyout by TIAA. The banking company’s stock ended the third quarter 30.3 percent higher than its June 30 level.

However, that wasn’t the big winner in the quarter. ParkerVision Inc. jumped 34.1 percent.

It seems like ParkerVision always ends up on the list of big movers in any quarter, either positively or negatively. Its stock swings wildly depending on the latest news for the developer of wireless technology.

In this case, it was an agreement in July with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to license ParkerVision’s patent portfolio, settling patent infringement claims brought by ParkerVision against Samsung.

ParkerVision’s stock doubled in price after the agreement was announced and it has actually settled down since the end of July. The stock dropped 37 percent over the last two months of the quarter, but still recorded a big net gain for the full three-month period.

The biggest drop in the quarter came from Stein Mart Inc., down 17.7 percent.

Stein Mart’s decline resulted from the surprise resignation of CEO Dawn Robertson just two days before the end of the quarter. The stock was trading at close to a break-even level for the full quarter before a sharp fall Sept. 29.

Two other stocks that registered significant declines in the quarter were both real estate companies: FRP Holdings Inc. fell 9.9 percent and Regency Centers Corp. dropped 7.5 percent.

Real estate stocks in general slumped in August and September, with the FTSE NAREIT U.S. Real Estate Index falling 5.4 percent over the two months.

LISC receives ‘very strong’ AA rating

LISC Jacksonville, a nonprofit community development organization, said its national affiliate received a Double-A rating from Standard & Poor’s, a rating that could give it easier access to funding.

LISC Jacksonville, one of 31 local offices of the Local Initiatives Support Corp., promotes development in low-income communities.

S&P usually rates corporate or government entities. But LISC sought a credit rating from S&P to demonstrate its stability and its investment value.

“It makes our work to bring in smaller-sized local and regional banks more feasible,” said Janet Owens, executive director of LISC Jacksonville, in a news release.

“They won’t need to start off small in order to assess the relative risk of working with LISC. It will also make it easier for us to convince our existing lenders to accept larger exposure on LISC loans,” she said.

The Double-A rating indicates LISC’s ability to meet its financial obligations is “very strong,” the organization said. The only higher rating, Triple-A, is considered “extremely strong” by S&P.

LISC said the ratings agency cited the organization’s “growing asset base, minimal loss exposure, strong history of loan performance/underwriting guidelines, and experienced management as among its strengths.”

It also cited its “comprehensive community development strategy and track record of impact.”

LISC Jacksonville was formed in 1999 by the city and The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation.

It said it has made more than $62 million in grants and loans and $212 million in leveraged investments in the local community.

Coach touts ‘green’ distribution center

An investment firm that specializes in socially responsible investing wants Coach Inc. to commit to eliminating greenhouse gases at its operations in the next 15 years.

However, the handbag and accessories company said it already is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and touted its Jacksonville distribution center as an example of that.

Jantz Management submitted a proposal to Coach shareholders for the company to adopt a “net-zero GHG emission status” by 2030. Shareholders will be voting on the proposal at Coach’s annual meeting Nov. 10 in New York.

In its proxy statement for the meeting, Coach said environmental issues, including reduction of greenhouse gases, “is a key pillar of Coach’s sustainability strategy.”

That includes efforts at its facility at the Jacksonville International Tradeport, which serves as its North American distribution center.

“Coach’s Jacksonville, Florida distribution center has also achieved LEED certification due to features such as solar-powered water heaters, energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems and low emissions flooring, adhesives and paint,” the company said in its proxy statement.

Coach employs about 250 people at its Jacksonville distribution center.

Drone Aviation gets more capital

Drone Aviation Holding Corp. received additional capital by selling $3 million in notes to Chairman and CEO Jay Nussbaum and a firm controlled by Phillip Frost, chairman of the company’s strategic advisory board.

The notes can be converted into common stock.

Jacksonville-based Drone Aviation makes tethered drones and lighter-than-air aerostats.

“Dr. Phil Frost and I are committed to a shared vision of growing a company with unique technologies and positioning it to become a leader in the rapidly growing drone industry,” Nussbaum said in a news release.

“This additional investment demonstrates our commitment to that vision by providing Drone Aviation with additional resources to support increased sales and business development activities as well as expand production capability to meet demand from U.S. military and other governmental and commercial customers,” he continued.

Shareholders approve WhiteWave deal

Shareholders of The WhiteWave Foods Co. last week approved the $12.5 billion buyout of the company by French yogurt-maker Danone.

The companies hope to complete the merger by the end of the year but the deal still must clear an antitrust review by the U.S. Department of Justice and also get approval from the European Commission.

WhiteWave said it received a request from the Department of Justice last week for additional information on the merger.

Denver-based WhiteWave produces plant-based foods and beverages. It operates three plants in Europe and 11 in the U.S., including a Jacksonville manufacturing plant at 2198 W. Beaver St. that employs about 100 people.

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