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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 14, 201612:00 PM EST

Jacksonville could have another Fortune 500 company

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by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

The annual Fortune 500 list released last week once again includes three Jacksonville-based companies but if Southeastern Grocers would just go ahead and file for an initial public offering, Jacksonville would be able to claim four.

The magazine’s annual list of the largest U.S. companies, based on revenue in the last fiscal year, includes three companies ranked in roughly the same spots as last year: CSX Corp. at 239 with $11.8 billion in revenue in 2015; Fidelity National Financial Inc. at 311 with $9.1 billion; and Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS, at 392 with $6.6 billion.

FIS should have more than $9 billion in revenue this year, after its acquisition late last year of SunGard Data Systems Inc.

That will put FIS neck and neck in the rankings with Fidelity National Financial, which spun off FIS in 2006.

However, Southeastern Grocers would rank higher than both of them and rival CSX as the largest company in Jacksonville, if only it filed public financial reports.

The Fortune 500 list only includes companies that file financial reports with a government agency. So privately-owned Southeastern Grocers, the parent of the Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys supermarket chains, isn’t included.

Forbes magazine last year ranked Southeastern Grocers as the 31st largest private company in the U.S., estimating its 2014 revenue at $10.5 billion. Supermarket News estimated it even higher at $11.5 billion.

Southeastern Grocers, owned by private equity investor Lone Star Funds, filed plans for an IPO in September 2013 but withdrew its registration in August 2014. It has not said anything about trying again to go public.

FNF pays off Riverside building

Fidelity National Financial acquired full ownership of its headquarters building and parking structure on Riverside Avenue, according to a deed recorded last week with the Duval County Clerk of Courts.

The deed showed Fidelity paid $71 million to buy the property from SunTrust Bank but Dan Murphy, senior vice president and treasurer of the company, said Fidelity was essentially paying off a financing arrangement with SunTrust.

He said accounting rules made it impractical to continue the financing.

Stein Mart

adds legal costs

Stein Mart Inc. last week said because of additional money put aside for legal expenses, its earnings for the second quarter ended April 30 were actually a penny per share lower than first announced.

That means the Jacksonville-based fashion retailer’s earnings were flat at 29 cents a share, the same as last year.

Stein Mart said it had to add $675,000 in accruals for “actual and anticipated legal settlements” because “new facts developed on these existing matters.”

That reduced after-tax net income by $419,000 to $13.3 million.

The company gave no details on the legal matters but said in its quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that these matters are not expected to have a material impact on its finances.

Stein Mart announced preliminary first-quarter earnings last month but did not file its quarterly report, with the adjusted results, until last week.

Ameris Bancorp promotes Zember

Ameris Bancorp said in an SEC filing last week that Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Dennis Zember was appointed to the additional role of chief operating officer.

Andrew Cheney, who had been chief operating officer, will continue to serve as executive vice president and banking group president.

Ameris is officially headquartered in Moultrie, Ga., but its executive officers are in Jacksonville.

BB&T combines North and Central Florida

BB&T Corp. last week said it is combining its North and Central Florida regions into a single region.

Scott Keith, who has been serving as president of the North Florida region, was named president of the North & Central region. He joined BB&T in 2005 as market president in Jacksonville and was promoted to North Florida regional president in 2010.

North Carolina-based BB&T said the combined region will have headquarters in both Jacksonville and Orlando.

“The strategic decision to combine the two regions will result in increased flexibility, additional client resources and greater growth potential,” the company said in a news release.

Tony Coley, president of the Central Florida region, will become president of the bank’s South Florida region.

Cousins Properties avoids new markets

Before merging into Cousins Properties Inc., Parkway Properties Inc. is selling off its portfolio of Jacksonville office properties because Cousins didn’t want to enter new markets, according to a merger prospectus filed by the companies.

Cousins and Parkway announced their agreement in late April and merger documents showed as part of the deal, they intended to sell Parkway’s Jacksonville portfolio, but gave no reason why.

According to the prospectus filed last week, Cousins CEO Larry Gellerstedt targeted Parkway as a possible acquisition target in December 2013, because of its portfolio of Sun Belt properties.

However, he decided if that merger happened, “the combined company would have to sell certain of Parkway’s real estate assets located in certain markets in which Cousins did not then own real estate assets.”

Cousins first approached Parkway in January 2014 and Orlando-based Parkway pursued merger talks with Cousins and other parties for more than two years before agreeing to the deal with Atlanta-based Cousins.

The agreement anticipates Parkway will sell its four Jacksonville properties: the Deerwood North, Deerwood South and JTB Center properties on the Southside and the Stein Mart building near the Southbank.

The buildings totaling 1.47 million square feet of space are 96.2 percent leased, according to Parkway’s first-quarter report.

Parkway properties in Miami and Philadelphia also are targeted for sale as part of the merger.

ParkerVision takes case to Germany

ParkerVision Inc., which already has patent infringement allegations pending in several jurisdictions, is pursuing another claim in Munich Regional Court in Germany.

Jacksonville-based ParkerVision last week said it filed the complaint against a German subsidiary of LG Electronics Inc., saying LG products offered in Germany infringe on ParkerVision’s wireless technology patents.

“We have reached the point where international legal action is appropriate to defend our intellectual property rights abroad in order to protect the investment our shareholders have made in our patented assets,” CEO Jeff Parker said in a news release.

ParkerVision already has a patent infringement claim pending with the U.S. International Trade Commission against LG and several other major manufacturers. That case is scheduled for trial starting Aug. 24.

ParkerVision also brought patent infringement lawsuits against other manufacturers in U.S. federal courts.

Medtronic ENT is a $600M business

Medtronic plc does not generally give out financial details for its Jacksonville division, which makes surgical instruments for ear, nose and throat doctors.

However, its slide presentation for an investor and analyst meeting last week indicates it’s a business generating more than $600 million in annual sales.

The slide says the ENT business has a 51 percent share of a market that is expected to generate $1.2 billion in sales in the current fiscal year.

Medtronic, with operational headquarters in Minneapolis, acquired the ENT business by purchasing a Jacksonville-based public company called Xomed Surgical Products Inc. in 1999. Xomed’s total revenue was $91 million in its last year as an independent company.

Medtronic employs more than 750 people in its ENT operation in Jacksonville. Xomed had 559 Jacksonville employees at the time of the buyout.

Michaels drops on earnings forecast

The Michaels Companies Inc. last week reported adjusted earnings of 36 cents a share for the first quarter ended April 30, 4 cents higher than last year and a penny higher than the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

However, the Texas-based arts and crafts retailer, which has a distribution center in Jacksonville, forecast second quarter earnings of 16 cents to 18 cents a share, lower than analysts’ forecasts of 20 cents to 22 cents.

That sent Michaels’ stock down by $2.45 to $27.69 Tuesday after the earnings report.

Michaels’ forecast of full-year earnings between $1.89 and $1.97 a share is close to analysts’ forecasts of $1.92 to $1.97.

The company’s total sales rose 7.5 percent to $1.16 billion in the first quarter and comparable-store sales rose 0.9 percent.

Comparable-store sales, which measures sales at stores open for more than one year and is considered a key indicator of a retailer’s performance, are expected to rise by 2.2 percent to 2.7 percent for the full fiscal year, Michaels said.

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