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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Nov. 5, 202005:10 AM EST

Rayonier struck by natural disasters; FIS reports flat revenue quarter

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Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and Oregon fires result in nearly $8 million in damages to the timber company.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Every company is dealing with the impact of COVID-19, but Rayonier Inc. was hit by two unrelated disasters in the third quarter.

Rayonier last week said it wrote off $6 million in damages to timberland in Louisiana caused by Hurricane Laura in August, and wrote off another $1.9 million in timber damage caused by wildfires in Oregon.

As a result, the timber and real estate company headquartered in Wildlight in Nassau County reported a net loss of 1 cent per share in the third quarter.

Excluding one-time charges, Rayonier said net income was 6 cents a share in the quarter. That was 2 cents higher than the consensus forecast of analysts, according to Zacks Investment Research.

“Despite facing some ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we benefited from robust new residential construction activity, continued strong repair and remodel spending, improved demand from key export log markets, and strong market dynamics for our pulpwood customers,” CEO David Nunes said in Rayonier’s third-quarter conference call with analysts.

Revenue rose 27% to $199 million.

FIS reports flat revenue quarter

Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS, reported third-quarter revenue rose 13% to $3.2 billion, mainly due to its acquisition of Worldpay Inc. in the 2019 third quarter.

However, aside from the acquisition, revenue rose only 1% on an organic basis. Adjusted earnings of $1.42 a share were a penny lower than the third quarter of 2019.

The Jacksonville-based financial technology company said the COVID-19 pandemic reduced payments and other transactions, which has been affecting its revenue.

In the company’s conference call, Chief Financial Officer Woody Woodall said revenue growth should pick up as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“With our backlog consistently growing in the mid-to-upper single digits for multiple quarters in a row, I feel really good about our ability to accelerate revenue growth next year, consistent with the 7 to 9% range we have been messaging,” he said.

FNF, Black Knight add directors

The two companies that share the Riverside Avenue headquarters campus with FIS both added new directors to their boards last week.

Mortgage technology company Black Knight Inc. elected Katie Burke as a director, increasing the size of its board to nine.

Burke is chief strategy officer of communications firm Daniel J. Edelman Holdings Inc.

Title insurance firm Fidelity National Financial Inc. said it is increasing its board to 11 directors with the election of Sandra Morgan, who most recently served as chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Fidelity also last week announced its board declared an increase to 36 cents a share, up 3 cents, in the quarterly dividend on its common stock.

Black Knight and FIS both were spun off from Fidelity National Financial.

Advanced Disposal buyout completed

Waste Management Inc. completed its $4.6 billion acquisition of Ponte Vedra-based Advanced Disposal Services Inc. on Oct. 30, more than 18 months after the two waste services companies agreed to merge.

Closing of the deal was delayed by a long antitrust review of the merger by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Justice Department ordered the companies to divest certain assets in an Oct. 23 lawsuit.

 Houston-based Waste Management said it completed the sale of those assets to GFL Environmental immediately after completing the acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

In Jacksonville, Advanced Disposal Services Jacksonville LLC sold its hauling facility at 7580 Philips Highway to GFL Solid Waste Southeast LLC on Oct. 30 for $1.67 million.

Advanced Disposal moved into a new headquarters building in the Nocatee development in Ponte Vedra in 2013, and Waste Management has not said what will happen to that office.

Advanced Disposal said in its annual report its lease on the offices at 90 Fort Wade Rd. expires in 2021.

Waste Management officials did say in a Nov. 2 conference call with analysts, as the company announced quarterly earnings, that they will be cutting costs as they integrate the Advanced Disposal operations.

“We worked closely with the ADS team for many months and are hard at work on integration, giving us confidence that we will exceed the $100 million synergy target despite higher-than-originally-expected divestitures,” said Chief Operating Officer John Morris, according to a transcript of the call posted by the company.

Analyst upgrades CSX to ‘outperform’

RBC Capital Markets analyst Walter Spracklin last week raised his rating on CSX Corp. from “sector perform” to “outperform.”

“With the worst from the pandemic seemingly behind us, we are more confident in the outlook going forward,” Spracklin said in a research note.

“We believe that CSX’s powerful operating model will drive further incremental margin as the economy recovers, and therefore strong earnings growth,” he said.

Spracklin raised his price target on the Jacksonville-based railroad company from $80 to $89, with the stock trading at $77.89 at the time of his Oct. 30 report.

St. Joe declares first dividend in 13 years

The St. Joe Co. last week declared its first cash dividend since 2007 as the real estate development company reported an increase in third-quarter earnings.

Panama City Beach-based St. Joe, which develops properties in the Florida Panhandle, said revenue rose 28% to $42 million and earnings rose by 3 cents a share to 13 cents.

The company also announced a quarterly cash dividend of 7 cents per share.

“With the continued improvement in business, the Board of Directors initiated a new quarterly dividend program, and today declared a $0.07 per share dividend. I expect the dividend will grow with earnings and complement our existing share buyback program and growth investments,” CEO Jorge Gonzalez said in a news release.

St. Joe had discontinued dividends in 2007, when the company was headquartered in Jacksonville. It moved its offices to the Panhandle in 2010 to be closer to its real estate activities.

PulteGroup sees big jump in home orders

PulteGroup Inc. reported a big increase in third-quarter earnings with signs of a strong comeback in the home construction industry.

The Atlanta-based homebuilding company, which is active in the Jacksonville market, said net new orders rose 36% in the quarter, with new orders jumping 39% in Florida.

“While COVID-19 still weighs on much of the U.S. economy, housing demand continued to benefit from low interest rates, supportive demographics, limited housing supply and a desire for new homes with features that can meet the evolving needs of today’s homebuyers,” CEO Ryan Marshall said in a news release.

PulteGroup’s adjusted earnings rose by 33 cents in the quarter to $1.34 a share.

Tapestry names Crevoiserat as CEO

Tapestry Inc. last week said interim CEO Joanne Crevoiserat was appointed permanent chief executive.

Crevoiserat was promoted from chief financial officer in July when Jide Zeitlin resigned as CEO after less than a year on the job.

Tapestry is the parent company of the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands. 

The New York-based company handles all of Coach’s North American distribution through an 850,000-square-foot facility at Jacksonville International Tradeport in North Jacksonville.

The company said its board appointed Crevoiserat after an internal and external search for Zeitlin’s replacement.

Tapestry also said last week sales fell 14% in the first quarter ended Sept. 26 to $1.17 billion, with Coach sales falling 9%. With profit margins increasing, adjusted earnings rose by 18 cents a share to 58 cents. 

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