ParkerVision Inc. finished another year without any revenue, but at least it was producing something at the end of 2014.
Jacksonville-based ParkerVision has been developing technology for years it says improves the performance of wireless products. But despite promises of potential deals, it still hasn’t found manufacturers who want to use the technology.
During their conference call last week to discuss year-end results, company officials did cite some progress in the fourth quarter.
“As you may have seen in our year-end financials, we produced a minimal amount of inventory in the fourth quarter of 2014 in order to support our product operations,” Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Poehlman said.
She said potential customers have purchased those components for testing with their own products.
“We believe these evaluations will lead to initial small volume orders and revenue in the second quarter of this year,” she said.
Of course, ParkerVision has previously promised sales were on the horizon, including last year.
“We had anticipated initial small volume product shipments beginning late 2014 but the sales cycle has taken a little longer than expected originally. So, the recognition of initial revenues from this area of the business is now expected to begin in the second quarter of this year,” Chairman and CEO Jeff Parker said.
“It is certainly taking longer than I had hoped. However, based on current discussions, I’m still very optimistic that one or more revenue-generating non-litigious relationships will occur in the near future,” he said.
While ParkerVision has continued to work on development of its technology, most of the focus on the company – particularly on Wall Street – has been on the company’s litigious relationships. ParkerVision has been involved in several legal battles, most notably a patent infringement lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc.
ParkerVision was awarded a $173 million judgment by a federal court jury in 2013, but the judge in the case overturned the verdict in June. ParkerVision is appealing.
Parker said he expects the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., to hear oral arguments in early May or early June, and possibly as late as early July. The company’s attorneys said to expect a ruling by the appellate court two to five months after the hearing, he said.
“We feel very positive about the arguments we put forth and we feel we’ve clearly expressed why the District Court was in error on its decision to reverse the jury’s verdict, as we believe we definitively met the requirements to provide the jury a sufficient basis for their finding for infringement,” Parker said.
ParkerVision last year filed a second lawsuit against Qualcomm, along with HTC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., alleging infringement of a different set of patents. Parker said that case is scheduled for trial in August 2016.
If Parker’s latest projections are right, we may be seeing actual sales revenue from ParkerVision before it gets any revenue in court.
Jacksonville Bancorp finished profitable year
Jacksonville Bancorp Inc. last week reported fourth-quarter earnings of $588,000, or 10 cents a share, as it finished its most profitable year since 2007.
For all of 2014, the parent company of The Jacksonville Bank had net income of $1.9 million, or 33 cents a share, reversing a loss in 2013.
CEO Kendall Spencer said in a news release that 2014 was “a turning point” for the bank as it turned in its best performance in seven years.
“The re-engineering strategies implemented during 2014, coupled with the hard work and dedication of our employees, positions us well for the future,” he said.
The restructuring included a previously announced 30 percent reduction in staff. The company said the financial benefits of that will be recognized beginning this year.
Jacksonville Bancorp also lowered its level of non-performing assets from 3.95 percent of total assets at the end of 2013 to 2.71 percent, as it reduced its level of overdue and unpaid loans.
The company had $488.6 million in assets at the end of 2014.
Landstar paying $4.5 million in fatal accident
Landstar System Inc. said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week that a state court jury in Arizona rendered a $19.25 million verdict against one of the company’s subsidiaries in a case involving a fatal accident.
However, Landstar said before the verdict, the parties entered into an agreement that limited the company’s financial exposure to $4.5 million.
The accident involved a tractor-trailer leased to Landstar. The driver, who contracted with Landstar to drive for the Jacksonville-based trucking company, had pulled off an Arizona highway due to mechanical issues.
“A pick-up truck driven by the decedent lost control while driving on the highway following a tire tread delamination while the decedent may have been engaged with his cell phone,” Landstar said in the filing. The pick-up truck then hit the Landstar tractor-trailer.
The family of the driver, Michael Bruno, alleged the Landstar truck was parked too close to the road and did not give Bruno time to avoid the collision, according to a story posted on Courtroom View Network, a legal news website.
Landstar said the verdict will result in a pretax charge of $4.5 million, or about 6 cents a share, to its first-quarter results. The company had not previously set aside reserves for possible losses from the lawsuit.
Landstar had been projecting earnings of 71 cents to 76 cents a share for the quarter.
Shoe Carnival beats its own forecast
Shoe Carnival Inc. jumped to a 52-week high Thursday after the company reported earnings and sales that easily beat its own forecast.
The footwear chain controlled by former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver reported earnings of 15 cents a share for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, well above its forecast of 6 cents to 10 cents.
Total sales rose 13.6 percent to $227.6 million and comparable-store sales (sales at stores open for more than one year) rose 9.5 percent.
Shoe Carnival had forecast comparable-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s performance, to rise by 3 percent to 5 percent.
The company said favorable weather helped its fourth-quarter performance, as well as new initiatives including a national advertising campaign.
Like many companies, Shoe Carnival’s results have been hurt in its first few weeks of fiscal 2015 by brutal weather in much of the country. In the company’s conference call Thursday, CEO Cliff Sifford said sales were impacted in the second half of February by stores that had to close for the weather.
“However, as soon as the weather moderated, we saw an immediate lift in sales similar to what we were experiencing throughout the fourth quarter. We believe with the current momentum in sales we’ll finish the quarter with a low single-digit (percentage) increase on a comparable-store basis,” he said.
Shoe Carnival is forecasting earnings of $1.40 to $1.48 a share this year, up from $1.27 in fiscal 2014, with comparable-store sales rising by 1.5 percent to 3 percent.
Shoe Carnival’s stock rose as much as $3.03 Thursday to $27.25, before closing the day at $26.25.
Weaver is chairman and the largest shareholder of Shoe Carnival, controlling 24.2 percent of the stock, along with his wife, Delores.
Shoe Carnival operates 404 stores in 33 states and Puerto Rico. It opened 31 new stores and closed seven in fiscal 2014.
Credit unions plan merger completion
The merger of two Jacksonville-based credit unions, 121 Financial Credit Union and Duval Federal Credit Union, will be finalized April 1, the institutions said.
Duval Federal branches will reopen under the 121 Financial name April 1. To finish preparations, the two credit unions are taking the unusual step of closing down for a time on March 31 to merge their operating systems.
Duval Federal offices will close all day on March 31 and 121 Financial branches will close at noon.
Duval Federal has four branches and 6,300 members, which will be added to 121 Financial’s eight branches and 39,100 members.