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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 23, 201905:20 AM EST

Two Jacksonville  companies quadruple revenue; GEE Group revenue tumbles

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ARC Group Inc., Duos Technologies Group show big gains.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Two Jacksonville-based companies last week reported they nearly quadrupled revenue in the first quarter.

ARC Group Inc., operator of the Dick’s Wings & Grill restaurant chain, increased sales after acquiring another restaurant chain called Fat Patty’s in August.

Sales rose from $1.19 million in the first quarter of 2018 to $4.59 million in this year’s first quarter. Fat Patty’s contributed $2.7 million in this year’s first quarter.

Meanwhile Duos Technologies Group Inc. experienced a similar gain, growing revenue from $1.15 million last year to $4.35 million.

The intelligent security and analytical technology solutions firm said it grew revenue in all areas of its business.

Besides the acquisition, ARC Group said it grew sales at its existing Dick’s restaurants.

“We expect our revenue will continue to increase during the next 12 months as we generate sales through our company-owned restaurants, continue to improve the operations of our existing Dick’s Wings and Fat Patty’s restaurants, and open new Dick’s Wings and Fat Patty’s restaurants,” CEO Seenu Kasturi said in a news release.

The Jacksonville-based company also has agreed to buy the Tilted Kilt restaurant chain, but hasn’t said when that deal may close.

Although sales jumped, ARC Group had a net loss of $414,243 in the quarter.

Kasturi said “operating expenses increased due to the company-owned restaurants that we opened and acquired and the buildout of our infrastructure.”

New Jacksonville entrant on Fortune list

The usual suspects from Jacksonville made this year’s Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies, but one new contender edged its way into the Fortune 1000 list.

CSX Corp., Fidelity National Information Services Inc. and Fidelity National Financial Inc. once again made the Fortune 500 and Landstar System Inc. continued in the Fortune 1000.

However, Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. entered the Fortune 1000 list this year after more than doubling its size with its late 2017 acquisition of competitor Tembec Inc.

The current Fortune magazine lists are based on 2018 revenue and after the Tembec deal, Rayonier AM’s revenue reached $2.134 billion last year, placing it 951st in the newly released Fortune 1000.

Meanwhile, CSX ranked 260th in the Fortune 500 with $12.25 billion in revenue, Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, ranked 361st with $8.423 billion and Fidelity National Financial Inc. ranked 402nd with $7.594 billion.

Landstar ranked 564th in the Fortune 1000 with $4.619 billion, moving up from 638th last year and getting closer to the more iconic Fortune 500.

The 500th company on this year’s list, Levi Strauss & Co., had $5.575 billion.

Jacksonville has another company that could be large enough for the list: Southeastern Grocers LLC, operator of Winn-Dixie and three other supermarket chains.

However, Fortune only includes publicly traded companies and other companies that file official financial reports with a regulatory agency on its lists. As a private company, Southeastern Grocers doesn’t file public financial reports.

Both Fidelity companies will likely move up in the rankings next year. FIS has agreed to buy Worldpay Inc., and the two companies combined produced $12.3 billion in 2018 revenue.

Fidelity National Financial has agreed to buy Stewart Information Services Corp., which had revenue of $1.9 billion last year. However, completion of the merger of the two title insurance companies has been held up by state and federal antitrust reviews, and the companies likely will have to divest some business to gain approval.

Duos Technologies reports profit

While Duos Technologies grew revenue, it also was profitable in the first quarter with net income of $44,000, its second profit in the last three quarters.

During a conference call last week to discuss the results with investors, CEO Gianni Arcaini took time to explain what Duos does.

“In simple terms, we create highly sophisticated technology solutions for our wide range of customers. We focus on improving their business processes to ultimately provide a measurable ROI (return on investment),” he said, according to a transcript of the call posted by the company.

Arcaini said Duos has developed advanced tools which “include machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence, as well as advanced video analytics.”

Duos is trying to grow the company, although Arcaini said it’s difficult to recruit talent.

“The current talent pool available for hire continues to be very tight, particularly within the AI and machine learning disciplines,” he said.

“Investment in R&D continues to be a central part of our company’s financial plan. As part of this investment, we’ve also added 25 people to our core group, bringing our total headcount to 58 employees, plus 11 full-time contractors overseas.”

Duos is projecting total revenue of $14 million to $15 million this year, based on current contracts.

GEE Group revenue tumbles 9% 

Jacksonville-based staffing firm GEE Group Inc. last week reported a net loss of $3.9 million, or 34 cents a share, for its second quarter ended March 31 as revenue fell 9% to $36.2 million.

GEE cited several reasons for the drop in revenue, including slower post-holiday hiring in many markets, reductions in temporary workforce requirements for “a few key customers” and bad weather in the company’s Midwest and Northeast markets.

Despite the decline in revenue, CEO Derek Dewan said in a news release the company is “encouraged” that the increased use of contingent labor in the gig economy will drive demand for its staffing services.

“The company continues to focus on internal growth and increasing market share through targeted sales and marketing efforts directed to existing and new customers,” Dewan said.

“The company’s internal growth efforts will be augmented by strategic acquisitions,” he said.

GEE Group also said last week that members of management and the board of directors agreed to invest $2 million in notes that can be converted into stock.

Dewan said in the release the investment demonstrates management and the board’s support for the company.

Minimal revenue for ParkerVision

As ParkerVision Inc. winds down operations of its in-home wireless internet product called Milo, the Jacksonville-based company last week reported revenue of just $10,000 for the first quarter.

ParkerVision, which has been developing wireless technology, announced it was abandoning Milo after disappointing sales and focusing only on its series of patent infringement lawsuits pending against several mobile device manufacturers.

“Furthermore, we have significantly reduced our operating costs during the past three quarters and continue to seek further cost reductions, as well as both short-term and long-term financing. We believe that we have the opportunity to secure additional litigation funding in the near term in order to support our patent enforcement program,” CEO Jeff Parker said in a news release.

ParkerVision did not hold a quarterly conference call to discuss its results.

The company reported a net loss of $2.1 million, or 7 cents a share, for the first quarter.

mCig narrows focus to supply

Jacksonville-based mCig Inc., which has been operating a range of businesses serving the legal cannabis markets, said in a letter to shareholders it is narrowing its focus.

“We will focus on supplying growers, extractors, infused product-makers, brands, and large multi-state operators with a range of products and services that meet and exceed the critical needs in their supply chains,” CEO Paul Rosenberg said in the letter.

In January, mCig spun off a marketing and advertising software company called Obitx Inc. into a separate public company.

The company reported sales of $1.9 million and a net loss of $1.6 million in the nine months ended Jan. 31.

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