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Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 16, 201512:00 PM EST

Palmer could be in line for Regency's top spot

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by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Regency Centers Corp. last week announced the appointment of Chief Financial Officer Lisa Palmer to the additional role of president, a promotion that could put her in line to one day succeed Hap Stein as CEO of the Jacksonville-based shopping center developer.

That would be significant, because we rarely see women in the chief executive suite at major Jacksonville public companies.

Stein, who turns 63 next month, isn’t leaving any time soon. He said in an interview last week he intends to remain as CEO for “several years” at the company his parents founded more than 50 years ago. Stein has been CEO of Regency and its predecessor company since 1988.

Palmer is 15 years younger than Stein and has been with Regency for nearly 20 years, so she would be a logical successor when Stein eventually does retire.

Stein wouldn’t say if Palmer is, in fact, his heir apparent.

“The board has a succession plan that’s well conceived,” he said. “Circumstances will dictate when and how this will evolve.”

Palmer is succeeding Brian Smith, who will retire as president and chief operating officer Dec. 31.

In addition to those changes, Regency announced Jim Thompson, managing director-East, will become executive vice president of operations, and Dan “Mac” Chandler, managing director-West, will become executive vice president of development.

“The board and I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Lisa, and in Jim Thompson and Mac Chandler,” Stein said.

The history of female CEOs in Jacksonville is slim. Probably the most well-known is Delores Kesler, who grew AccuStaff Inc. (which became MPS Group Inc.) into a major staffing company before retiring as CEO in 1994.

More recently, Linda Farthing served as chief executive of Stein Mart Inc. for only 13 months before leaving for personal reasons in 2008.

Another executive who could be a future CEO is Cindy Sanborn, who was recently promoted to chief operating officer of CSX Corp. Analysts have speculated Sanborn could be a successor to CEO Michael Ward, but Ward recently said he intends to stay on at least three more years.

ParkerVision has revenue

For the first time in five years, ParkerVision Inc. had revenue in its quarterly report.

It wasn’t much — just $5,483 — and didn’t come close to matching expenses, as ParkerVision reported a net third-quarter loss of $3.1 million, or 3 cents a share.

However, ParkerVision, a developer of technology for wireless devices, is hopeful the minimal third-quarter revenue is just a start.

“We see opportunities for revenue growth over the next 12 months that will be, we believe, more than sufficient to cover our annual operating expenses and from which we can see real growth,” CEO Jeff Parker said in the company’s conference call last week.

ParkerVision last recorded any revenue in 2010, and investor focus over the past few years has been on the company’s so far unsuccessful attempts to receive damages from patent infringement lawsuits. In last week’s call, the focus was more on revenue efforts than on litigation.

The third-quarter revenue resulted from ParkerVision’s distribution partnership with a company called RFMW Ltd.

“The majority of the revenue recorded in the third quarter was services revenue from our first engineering design contract. The service revenue recognized under this contract initially covers our cost, but the contract provides for instances whereby additional revenues will be recognized as the customer successfully deploys the product we are supporting,” Chief Financial Officer Cindy Poehlman said in the conference call.

“This contract will have ongoing revenue in the fourth quarter and possibly beyond and we have other service contracts in the pipeline, at least one of which we anticipate will close in the coming weeks,” she said.

Poehlman and Parker said the company is also looking to raise additional capital.

“Our number one priority at this point is to ensure that we have sufficient short-term liquidity and to achieve those longer term goals,” Parker said.

Web.com changes ticker

Web.com Group Inc. changed its ticker symbol last week.

The Jacksonville-based company, which has been trading on Nasdaq for 10 years under the ticker “WWWW,” began trading Tuesday under the ticker “WEB.” CEO David Brown rang the closing bell on Nasdaq Tuesday to commemorate the change.

Brown said in a news release the ticker change is part of the company’s branding strategy.

“This memorable ticker symbol clearly aligns with Web.com’s role as a leading provider of online marketing solutions for small businesses,” he said.

Jacksonville Bancorp earnings rise

Jacksonville Bancorp Inc. last week said third-quarter earnings rose 23 percent to $992,000, or 17 cents a share.

“The continued growth in core deposits and loans along with our disciplined approach to improving credit quality and managing expenses is the foundational basis for the company’s solid performance,” CEO Kendall Spencer said in a news release.

The parent company of The Jacksonville Bank announced a buyout agreement Sept. 30 with Ameris Bancorp. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

ADS earnings up

ADS Waste Holdings Inc.’s third-quarter revenue fell by 1.8 percent to $361.3 million, but its operating income jumped 29.5 percent to $32.5 million, according to its quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The parent company of Advanced Disposal said the higher earnings resulted from reduced fuel expense and the divestiture of lower margin businesses.

ADS, headquartered in Nocatee in St. Johns County, filed plans for an initial public offering in August but has not indicated the timing for the stock sale.

CSX expects lower fourth-quarter earnings

CSX Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro told an investor conference last week that fourth-quarter earnings per share are expected be slightly lower than the 49 cents earned in the fourth quarter of 2014.

That isn’t really a surprise, as analysts had been forecasting earnings of 46 cents to 50 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

“The company continues to target mid-single digit full-year earnings per share growth as intermodal growth and efficiency initiatives offset about $450 million in coal revenue declines,” CSX said in a news release.

Analyst downgrades Black Knight

Black Knight Financial Services Inc.’s stock has been mostly on an upswing since its initial public offering in May, but that prompted a downgrade of the stock last week.

Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. analyst Alexander Veytsman downgraded Jacksonville-based Black Knight from “buy” to “neutral.”

“With the shares up approximately 20 percent since our initiation in June 2015, we believe that Black Knight’s valuation is getting meaningfully above that of other companies in the comparative field, both in mortgage and financial outsourcing industries,” Veytsman said in a research note.

He said Black Knight is trading at about 30 times its estimated 2017 earnings. While that may make the stock overpriced, Veytsman still likes Black Knight.

“We reiterate that the overall business fundamentals remain solid, despite the downgrade,” he said.

Quasar becomes Green Energy

Quasar Aerospace Industries Inc. last week said it changed its name to Green Energy Enterprises Inc., to mark its change in focus.

The company operates a flight training school at Herlong Airport on Jacksonville’s Westside and made a series of announcements several years ago promising big acquisitions that never materialized. Last year, Quasar announced it was moving its focus away from aerospace and instead getting into the legal and medical marijuana business. The new name reflects that business.

Green Energy’s stock is currently trading on the OTC Pink Sheets under the ticker “QASPD,” but it expects to have a new ticker symbol Nov. 30.

WJXT owner appoints new CEO

Graham Holdings Co., owner of Jacksonville television station WJXT TV-4, announced the appointment of a new and much younger CEO last week.

Tim O’Shaughnessy, 33, was named CEO to succeed 70-year-old Donald Graham, who will remain as chairman of the board.

Graham Holdings was traditionally a media company but has become more diversified since selling off The Washington Post newspaper in 2013. It still owns five television stations, including WJXT.

O’Shaughnessy joined Graham Holdings as president in 2014 to oversee investments and acquisitions.

Embraer selling planes to Lebanon

Embraer Defense & Security last week announced the sale of six of its A-29 Super Tucano airplanes to the Republic of Lebanon.

Brazil-based Embraer has been building A-29s since last year at its facility at Jacksonville International Airport. The A-29 is a turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a range of light air support missions, the company said.

“The selection of the A-29 by the Lebanese Air Force is a great testament to the superiority of the Super Tucano and its ability to meet the challenges of the operating theater in the Middle East,” Embraer Defense & Security CEO Jackson Schneider said in a news release.

J. Alexander’s sales rise

J. Alexander’s Holdings Inc., which was spun off from Fidelity National Financial Inc. in September, reported third-quarter sales rose 5.6 percent to $49.3 million.

The restaurant company is projecting earnings for the full year to be $5.5 million to $6.5 million, or 37 cents to 43 cents a share.

J. Alexander’s, based in Nashville, Tenn., operates 41 restaurants in 14 states under the J. Alexander’s, Redlands Grill and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill brands.

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