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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Nov. 4, 202105:00 AM EST

Northeast Florida an attractive IPO market

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Blockchain Moon and Cadre Holdings latest to make moves.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Besides Cadre Holdings Inc. reviving its IPO and Southeastern Grocers Inc. formally killing its plan, another Jacksonville-based company made news with its initial public offering in late October.

Blockchain Moon Acquisition Corp. brought its $100 million IPO to the market Oct. 18, as the company pursues acquisition targets.

Blockchain Moon is a blank check company with no business operations and only a small Jacksonville office.

 It was formed, like other special purpose acquisitions companies this year, to raise money in an IPO and pursue target companies.

The company said there are no restrictions on acquisition targets but its focus is on blockchain technologies in North America, Europe and Asia.

Blockchain Moon sold 10  million units at $10 each, with the units consisting of one share of stock and warrants and rights to acquire additional stock.

The units trade under the ticker symbol “BMAQU” on the Nasdaq Global Market.

The units traded between $10.09 and $10.25 in their first two weeks of trading.

Meanwhile, Cadre Holdings’ offering of 5.77 million shares at $12 to $14 each is expected to reach the market Nov. 4.

The safety and survivability products company is trying again with a lower price and number of shares after pulling its planned IPO off the market in August.

If Cadre completes the deal, it will be the fourth IPO by a Jacksonville-based company this year.

Besides Blockchain Moon, homebuilder Dream Finders Homes Inc. and medical device company Treace Medical Concepts Inc. completed IPOs.

Also, space technology company Redwire Corp. became publicly traded in September by merging with a blank check company.

Southeastern Grocers, parent of Winn-Dixie and three other supermarket chains, called off its IPO in January and formally filed a withdrawal statement for its IPO registration Oct. 29.

Even without that deal and another IPO called off by specialty insurance company Fortegra Group Inc., 2021 has been a very active IPO year for Jacksonville area companies.

Boeing optimistic on defense market

As The Boeing Co. broke ground Oct, 27 on its $116 million aircraft maintenance facility in Jacksonville, its top executives were at the company’s Chicago headquarters discussing third-quarter earnings.

Much of the aerospace company’s conference call with analysts was devoted to Boeing’s ongoing issues with some of its passenger planes, including the 737 Max and the 787 Dreamliner.

However, the Jacksonville facility, which is expected to create 400 jobs, will be used to service military aircraft and CEO David Calhoun expressed optimism about that market.

“Our government services, defense and space markets remain significant and relatively stable,” he said.

Revenue in its defense, space and security business fell 3% in the quarter to $6.6 billion but Calhoun is confident about ongoing demand in the sector.

“While increased government spending on COVID-19 response is adding pressure to defense budgets in some countries, others are increasing spending on their security,” he said.

“Overall, the global defense market remains strong with enduring demand for all of our major programs.”

The 737 Max was grounded after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. With the plane gradually coming back into service, Calhoun said Boeing is producing 19 of the planes per month and expects production to reach 31 a month in early 2022.

Production of the 787 was slowed by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration because of concerns about the fuselage.

 Boeing now is producing two of the 787s a month and expects production eventually ro reach five per month, Calhoun said.

Ameris earnings fall in third quarter

Ameris Bancorp’s third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.20 a share were in line with analysts’ estimates, according to Zacks Equity Research. But that was down from $1.69 a share in the third quarter of 2020.

The lower income partly resulted from a slowdown in the mortgage market, which was generating big fee income for Ameris last year.

The company said Oct. 29 that mortgage originations accounted for 17% of pretax income in this year’s third quarter, compared with 49% last year.

Ameris moved its executive offices from Jacksonville to Atlanta in 2019.

St. Joe sees more opportunities

The St. Joe Co. reported Oct. 27 that third-quarter earnings doubled to 26 cents a share, with revenue rising 28% to $53.9 million.

The company’s real estate development activities are focused on Florida’s Panhandle and CEO Jorge Gonzalez said opportunities are expanding in the region.

“Historically, most of the development in Bay and Walton counties occurred south of US Highway 98, the main east-to-west arterial road. However, as the area south of US Highway 98 has reached the saturation point, new development has shifted north,” Gonzalez said in a news release.

St. Joe, long headquartered in Jacksonville, moved its offices to the Panhandle in 2010 and is based in Panama City Beach.

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