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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 21, 202005:10 AM EST

Low demand for gas fuels Patriot loss

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The Jacksonville-based trucking company suffers a $401,000 loss in the second quarter.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

As a company that transports petroleum products around the Southeastern U.S., Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. is considered an essential business that needs to keep operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while everyone needs gasoline, people are using much less of it during pandemic-related shutdowns. 

That lower demand resulted in a loss of $401,000, or 12 cents a share, for the Jacksonville-based trucking company in its second quarter ended March 31.

Revenue fell 13% in the quarter to $23.5 million.

In a conference call with investors last week, CEO Robert Sandlin said the company’s outlook was positive before the pandemic.

“While our business has not produced the returns we prefer in the last couple of years, we believe the changes we’ve made to our business were beginning to have a positive impact in March,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we experienced a rapid decline in business volume in the middle of March due to COVID-19.”

Patriot said data from the Energy Information Administration showed gasoline demand dropped 48% in the week ending April 3, compared with the same period a year ago.

The drop in demand continued through April, with petroleum miles driven by Patriot’s trucks falling about 35%, Sandlin said.

“We have seen a recent uptick in volume in May versus April but at this point it’s anyone’s guess where we land,” he said.

Sandlin said Patriot is in good shape to withstand the downturn with $11 million in cash and no debt on its balance sheet.

However, Patriot, which announced its first quarterly dividend payment of 15 cents a share in December, is suspending further dividends for the time being, he said.

Duos Technologies revenue falls

Duos Technologies Group Inc. was anticipating 2020 to be a year of continued growth.

However, the pandemic has changed the outlook for the Jacksonville-based provider of intelligent security analytical technology.

Duos last week reported a net loss of $2.1 million, or 80 cents a share, in the first quarter with revenue dropping 77% to $991,000.

The company which focuses on technology for railroad companies said the pandemic is causing delays in anticipated contract awards.

“Like many businesses, we were not immune to the effects of the ongoing global pandemic, which caused business disruptions for most of our key customers and consequently impacted our operations,” CEO Gianni Arcaini said in a conference call, according to a transcript posted by the company.

Duos had been projecting revenue to grow from $13.6 million in 2019 to $20 million this year. However, it now says the COVID-19 pandemic makes it uncertain it can reach its revenue target.

“We still expect to grow this year,” Arcaini said.

“However, the timeline for growth has been extended and remains a bit uncertain.”

GEE Group reports loss as clients close

Jacksonville-based staffing company GEE Group Inc. lost business in the second quarter ended March 31 as clients closed their offices and furloughed employees, reducing the need for GEE Group contract workers.

GEE Group reported a net loss of $5.4 million, or 38 cents a share, with revenue falling 4% to $34.7 million.

The company continued to be impacted in April and the first half of May by the weak labor market but said it hopes  demand for workers will pick up with businesses starting to reopen.

CEO Derek Dewan said in a news release the company could benefit from post-pandemic trends.

“We are encouraged about the ‘new world order’ and the changes in the way people work, which we believe will result in the increased use of contingent labor and a further acceptance of remote-working in the gig economy,” Dewan said.

Harte Hanks exiting direct mail

Harte Hanks Inc. last week said it is closing its Jacksonville facility as part of plan to exit the direct mail business.

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Texas-based marketing company said it sold most of the equipment from the Jacksonville facility April 24 for $1.5 million to Summit Direct Mail Inc.

Harte Hanks said it entered into an agreement for Summit to perform its direct mail campaigns, with Harte Hanks managing the client relationships.

Harte Hanks filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice with the state of Florida on May 1 saying it is closing the facility at 7498 Fullerton St. in Jacksonville and permanently cutting 63 jobs, beginning June 30.

Pandemic delays work at Marker Therapeutics

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting pharmaceutical research companies in the spotlight as researchers search for a vaccine and treatments for the disease.

However, the pandemic may slow the research of Marker Therapeutics Inc., which is working on therapies to treat cancers.

In its first-quarter report last week, CEO Peter Hoang said the company is “eager” to begin the second phase of trials of a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.

“We anticipate that the initiation of our trial will be delayed by the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our clinical trial partners and throughout our supply chain,” Hoang said in a news release.

“We are moving expediently in the interim to secure clinical trial sites and are monitoring the situation closely to prioritize the health and wellness of our employees and the patients we serve,” he said.

Marker, which has no products on the market, reported a net loss of $6.5 million, or 14 cents a share, in the first quarter.

The company formerly known as TapImmune Inc. moved its headquarters from Jacksonville to Houston last year.

No revenue, but new lawsuit at ParkerVision

Jacksonville-based ParkerVision Inc. last week reported a first-quarter net loss of $7.9 million, or 21 cents a share, with no revenue.

The developer of wireless technology has no operating businesses now and is focusing on several patent infringement actions against major telecommunications manufacturers.

ParkerVision claims the companies are illegally using technology in its products that was developed and patented by the company.

ParkerVision last week filed a new lawsuit in federal court in California against China-based TCL Technology Group.

The company has ongoing legal actions against major U.S. companies including Qualcomm Inc., Apple Inc. and Intel Corp.

mCig changes its name to BOTS

After moving its headquarters out of Jacksonville, mCig Inc. changed its name to BOTS Inc.

The cannabis products company said in an SEC filing two weeks ago that it moved its corporate headquarters to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and converted its incorporation from Nevada to Puerto Rico.

The company said in a May 18 news release it changed its name to reflect a commitment to technology.

The name BOTS “allows us to emphasize our wide-ranging business objective around changing the way automation is delivered between service providers and businesses, with the goal of increasing access, lowering costs and improving quality,” CEO Paul Rosenberg said in the release.

Rosenberg explained the company’s new focus in a letter to shareholders last week.

“The international advancement towards medical and recreational legalization has dragged marijuana into the mainstream. The whole industry saw a spike in innovation as a result,” it said.

“Visionaries in the cannabis industry are experimenting with using blockchain technology to explore how products can be safer and processes more efficient.”

The company’s most recent financial report showed revenue of $908,871 and a net loss of $71,816 for the nine months ended Jan. 31.

 

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