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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 26, 202205:10 AM EST

Landstar System enters the Fortune 500

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Dun & Bradstreet cracks Fortune 1000 list among Jacksonville-based companies.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Jacksonville added a new Fortune 500 company and an additional Fortune 1000 firm, according to the magazine’s annual list of largest U.S. companies.

Trucking company Landstar System Inc., which has made Fortune magazine’s ranking of 1,000 largest companies for several years, jumped into the Fortune 500 after its 2021 revenue grew by 58.1% to $6.54 billion.

The list released May 23 showed Landstar rose from 606th in 2021 to 491st in this year’s ranking, which is based on fiscal 2021 revenue.

Meanwhile, Dun & Bradstreet Holdings Inc. entered the Fortune 1000 for the first time at 987th after its revenue grew by 24.6% to $2.166 billion.

The business data firm moved its headquarters to Jacksonville last year, in part because of its ties to the highest-ranking Jacksonville company on this year’s list, Fidelity National Financial Inc.

Riding a wave of new mortgage activity, the title insurance company increased revenue by 45.1% last year to $15.643 billion, moving up 50 spots on the Fortune 500 list to 238th.

Fidelity Chairman Bill Foley is also executive chairman of Dun & Bradstreet.

The two other Jacksonville-based Fortune 500 companies increased revenue in 2021 but fell on this year’s rankings.

Financial technology firm Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS, which was spun off from Fidelity National Financial, dropped 27 spots to 268th despite increasing revenue by 10.6% to $13.877 billion.

Railroad company CSX Corp. fell six spots to 298th while its revenue rose 18.3% to $12.522 billion.

One other Jacksonville-based company is poised to enter the Fortune 1000 next year.

Dream Finders Homes Inc. reported first-quarter 2022 revenue of $664 million and says it is expecting to close on the sale of at least 7,000 homes this year.

The homebuilding company’s average sales price in the first quarter was $470,218 and if that level holds up, the sale of 7,000 homes would generate more than $3 billion in revenue.

Dream Finders became eligible for the Fortune 1000 after an initial public offering last year. Fortune only ranks companies that issue public financial statements.

Two other Jacksonville-based companies would qualify for the lists if they were public.

Southeastern Grocers Inc., parent of Winn-Dixie and three other supermarket chains, called off a planned IPO last year. Its IPO filings before it withdrew the stock registration said its annual revenue was about $8 billion.

Jacksonville’s biggest company is GuideWell Mutual Holding Corp., parent of Florida Blue, which has annual revenue of more than $20 billion.

However, GuideWell is a mutual holding company owned by its members and does not issue public financial statements.

Hedge fund exits Rayonier AM after losing proxy fight

After losing its proxy fight with Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc., hedge fund Chatham Asset Management sold off its shares of the Jacksonville-based cellulose products company.

Chatham had been pressuring Rayonier AM to refinance its debt and said it would withhold votes from two long-standing directors up for reelection at the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

But after Thomas Morgan and Lisa Palumbo were reelected at the May 16 meeting, Chatham said in a May 19 Securities and Exchange Commission filing it sold 1.6 million shares May 18 and 2.4 million shares May 19, leaving it with no Rayonier AM shares.

At the meeting, Morgan received 36.8 million votes for reelection and 12.7 million against, while Palumbo received 31.3 million votes for and 18.2 million against, according to a company SEC filing.

Both directors have served on the board since 2014.

The third director up for reelection, Ivona Smith, has served on the board since 2020 and was not opposed by Chatham. She received 45.8 million votes for and 3.7 million against.

Rayonier raises its dividend to 28.5 cents 

Rayonier Inc., which split up with Rayonier AM in 2014, said May 20 it is increasing its quarterly dividend from 27 cents a share to 28.5 cents.

“I’m pleased that our board of directors has voted to increase the quarterly dividend based on their confidence in the sustainability of our core businesses, the relative strength of the markets we operate in, and the company’s strong capital structure,” CEO David Nunes said in a news release.

The timber and real estate company is headquartered in Wildlight in Nassau County.

International Baler majority agrees to a buyout

International Baler Corp. said in an SEC filing a majority of independent shareholders agreed to a buyout offer, clearing the way to complete the deal to take the company private.

Avis Industrial Corp., which owns 81.1% of the stock, offered in March to buy the remaining 978,737 shares for $1.74 each.

The deal was contingent on a majority of those shares accepting the tender offer. The SEC filing said 613,766 shares were tendered validly by the May 18 deadline.

Indiana-based Avis owns several competitors that make balers, which are used by businesses to bundle waste for disposal and recycling.

The company said in previous filings it expects no changes at International Baler, which employed 45 people as of Oct. 31, 2021, at its 62,000-square-foot facility at 5400 Rio Grande Ave. in Northwest Jacksonville.

However, Avis said it will review operations after completing the buyout.

International Baler has been headquartered in Jacksonville since 1993.

Home Depot’s Interline business still growing

The Home Depot Inc. is seeing high demand from homeowners for its products, but demand is even better from its professional contractor division, which grew from a Jacksonville-based business.

Home Depot in 2015 acquired Interline Brands, which sold products for maintenance, repair and operations professionals.

The Interline business was the basis for the company’s professional contractor business created in 2018 called Home Depot Pro. It expanded the division in late 2020 with the reacquisition of HD Supply Holdings Inc., a company it had sold off to private investment firms in 2007.

“We couldn’t be happier with the combination of our legacy Interline-HD Pro business with Home Depot Supply,” CEO Ted Decker said in Home Depot’s quarterly conference call May 17, according to a company transcript of the call.

 “Not only did we combine the number one and two players in that industry, but The Home Depot Supply had additional verticals that our business didn’t participate in,” he said.

Decker said HD Supply has brought the company new contractor customers in multifamily housing and hospitality.

“We love our position in MRO and the verticals we’re in,” he said.

Home Depot doesn’t report separate data for the Pro division but said its sales growth outpaced do-it-yourself customer growth in the first quarter.

Total sales in the quarter ended May 1 rose 3.8% to $38.9 billion.

“Customers continue to tell us that their homes have never been more important, and project backlogs are very healthy. We believe that the medium-to-longer term underpinnings of demand for home improvement have never been stronger,” Decker said.

GEE Group Inc. revenue rises 14%

GEE Group Inc. reported revenue rose 14% to $39.6 million in its second quarter ended March 31 with adjusted earnings of $2.2 million, or 2 cents a share.

The Jacksonville-based staffing services company reversed a net loss in last year’s second quarter.

“The 2022 fiscal second quarter was our third consecutive quarter of good performance since we fully deleveraged the company,” CEO Derek Dewan said in a May 17 conference call, according to a company transcript.

“Absent the onset of a recession or unforeseen events, we anticipate continued good results for the remainder of our 2022 fiscal year and beyond,” he said.

Duos Technologies revenue down

Duos Technologies Group Inc. reported first-quarter revenue fell 33% to $1.44 million, but the company said it remains on track to reach its full-year revenue target of $16.5 million to $18 million.

The Jacksonville-based company provides analytical technology solutions focused on the railroad industry. It said it expects significantly higher revenue in the last two quarters of 2022 and improved operating results for the full year.

Duos reported a first-quarter net loss of $2.64 million, or 49 cents a share.

“The first quarter was in line with our stated plan and has us well positioned to execute on our existing backlog for the remainder of this year and into 2023,” CEO Chuck Ferry said in a May 16 conference call, according to a company transcript.

“As of today, our business is performing at its highest level in nearly two years, the results of which will begin to show in the latter half of 2022 and into 2023,” he said.

Shoe Carnival results up from 2019

Shoe Carnival Inc. reported lower first-quarter sales and earnings than last year.

However, the footwear chain controlled by former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said results were significantly higher than the first quarter of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic affected businesses.

Sales of $317.5 million in the first quarter ended April 30 were 3.3% lower than the first quarter of 2021 but 25.1% higher than the 2019 first quarter.

Earnings of 95 cents a share were down from $1.51 last year, but more than double the 46 cents earned three years ago.

Shoe Carnival said first quarter 2021 sales were boosted by customers spending tax refunds and stimulus payments, as well as vaccines encouraging more customers to get out and visit the stores.

The company operates 395 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico under the Shoe Carnival and Shoe Station banners.

 

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