About a year after moving its headquarters to Jacksonville, Safe & Green Holdings Corp. is leaving for Miami.
The company, which converts shipping containers for use as buildings, said in a Jan. 31 news release it sees “expanded growth and a favorable business environment” in Miami.
“While we had a great experience with Jacksonville, we’re excited to make the move to Miami,” CEO Paul Galvin said in the release.
“There are so many new and exciting businesses in Miami, from startups to family offices, investment banks, and more. We think Miami is the perfect fit for our business.”
The company, then known as SG Blocks, never made an announcement about its move to Jacksonville. However, its Securities and Exchange Commission filings began listing its executive offices at 5011 Gate Parkway in Jacksonville in January 2022, after previously listing a headquarters office in Brooklyn, New York.
It was an eventful year for the company in Jacksonville. In December, it announced the name change from SG Blocks to Safe & Green and also said it is spinning off its real estate development subsidiary into a separate public company called Safe and Green Development Corp.
That company will also be headquartered in the Miami office.
Landstar earnings drop in 4th quarter
Landstar System Inc. reported lower earnings and revenue in the fourth quarter as demand for freight services leveled off in the latter part of 2022.
The Jacksonville-based trucking company reported earnings of $2.60 a share, down from $2.99 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Revenue fell 14% to $1.675 billion, below Landstar’s forecast range of $1.775 billion to $1.825 billion.
In a Feb. 1 conference call with analysts, CEO Jim Gattoni said the soft freight market is continuing in early 2023. Landstar had been benefiting from a coronavirus pandemic-related rebound before the market turned.
“The macro freight environment gathered strength from late-summer 2020 through 2021 and drove Landstar’s truck revenue to historic highs. 2021 fourth quarter truck revenue was 91% above the pre-pandemic 2019 fourth quarter,” Gattoni said.
“The prior upmarket cycle reached its peak in the 2021 fourth quarter and 2022 first quarter and was followed by decelerating year-over-year growth rates in truck revenue per load and volume beginning in the 2022 second quarter,” he said.
Landstar’s big jump in 2021 revenue pushed the company into the Fortune 500 for the first time and despite the weakness over the last three quarters, it still ended 2022 with higher revenue than 2021.
Revenue rose from $6.54 billion in 2021 to $7.44 billion in 2022.
Gattoni expressed optimism about the company’s business going forward.
“Regardless of challenging year-over-year comparisons, a less robust freight environment and the inflationary pressures of labor, equipment and insurance costs, the resiliency of the Landstar variable cost business model continues to generate significant free cash flow and financial returns,” he said.
“2023 has its work cut out for it, due to the tough comps to the prior year and a less robust freight environment to start the year. Nevertheless, we have been through many business cycles before and we still expect nothing less than 2023 being a terrific year by historical standards with anticipated annual revenue well above pre-pandemic levels.”
Landstar is projecting first-quarter revenue of $1.4 billion to $1.45 billion, down from $1.97 billion in the first quarter of 2022, and earnings of $2.05 to $2.15 a share, down from last year’s $3.34.
Raymond James analyst Felix Boeschen upgraded Landstar from “market perform” to “outperform” in a research note Feb. 6, despite what he called a “murky macro backdrop.”
Boeschen cited factors including Landstar’s business model of not owning trucks but contracting with drivers who own their own vehicles, which gives it little exposure to equipment-based inflation.
He also sees a favorable risk/reward with Landstar’s stock trading at about 19 times his 2024 earnings estimate.
Results for Patriot Transportation rise
Jacksonville’s other publicly traded trucking company, Patriot Transportation Holding Inc., reported higher results for its first quarter ended Dec. 31.
Patriot’s earnings of 14 cents a share were below the previous year’s earnings of $1.74, but the first quarter of fiscal 2022 included $1.70 in gains from real estate sales.
Revenue rose 11% to $22.85 million.
Patriot focuses on delivering fuel in the Southeastern U.S., unlike Landstar, which transports freight nationwide.
Another big difference is that Patriot does own its fleet, and hiring and retaining drivers has been a big issue for the trucking industry in recent years.
In Patriot’s Feb. 2 conference call, CEO Rob Sandlin said its program of increasing pay has helped stabilize its driver roster.
“The results among our drivers with a year or more of seniority has been very positive, resulting in low turnover among this group of dedicated professionals,” he said.
“New driver acquisitions, while slightly improved, continue to result in high turnover, but with slightly better results than this time last year.”
Sandlin said Patriot’s regional footprint is attractive to some drivers.
“You can always draw a comparison between the over-the-road driver that is out there for, let’s say, weeks at a time and our drivers in the tank truck industry, particularly ours that are more regional in nature and they are mostly home at night,” he said.
But Patriot is using the Landstar driver model to some extent.
“As general freight spot rates have declined, we have experienced the ability to put on more owner-operators in several markets and will continue to monitor and balance this with company drivers,” Sandlin said.
ICE expects Black Knight deal to be complete by midyear
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. offered very little new information in its quarterly conference call Feb. 2 about its planned acquisition of Black Knight Inc.
ICE announced the agreement to buy the Jacksonville-based mortgage technology company in May 2022 and is working to resolve antitrust concerns about the deal with the Federal Trade Commission.
The New York-based financial technology company is best known as the operator of the New York Stock Exchange but it also has a mortgage loan origination technology business, raising concerns about ICE ending up with too big a share of the mortgage technology market.
“As communicated when making the announcement, we continue to believe that this transaction will close during the first half of this year,” ICE Chief Executive Jeffrey Sprecher said in the conference call.
“Out of respect for the Federal Trade Commission’s work on this matter and as we cooperate with them to gain regulatory approval, we do not intend to comment further on the transaction. But importantly, we remain excited about the efficiencies that the combined entities will bring to the end consumer and to other stakeholders across the mortgage ecosystem,” he said.
ICE reported 2022 revenue of $7.3 billion, including $1.1 billion from its mortgage technology division.
Revenue dropped 20% in that division from 2021, due to a slowdown in mortgage activity. Operating income from the mortgage technology unit dropped 37% to $511 million.
Black Knight, which is scheduled to report its year-end results on Feb. 28, reported revenue rose 7% to $1.2 billion for the first nine months of 2022, with adjusted operating income rising 3% to $440.7 million.
Rayonier sees timber market improvement
Rayonier Inc. reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share, up from 1 cent the year before.
In its Feb. 2 conference call, CEO David Nunes said Rayonier had strong results from its U.S. timber operations in the South and Northwest, partially offset by lower earnings from its New Zealand timber segment.
“We believe this underscores the relative strength of our timber markets and the ability of our team to navigate an ever-evolving operating environment,” he said.
Nunes is encouraged about the market in 2023.
“We’ve seen some recent signs of end market improvement, including increased wood products pricing, a more stable interest rate environment and improving homebuilder sentiment which suggests that timber market conditions may be poised to rebound to some extent,” he said.
On the real estate development side of the company, Rayonier President Mark McHugh said its Wildlight project in Nassau County, where its headquarters is located, and its Heartwood development near Savannah, Georgia, are progressing well.
“Overall, our Wildlight and Heartwood development projects continue to benefit from favorable migration and demographic trends, relatively affordable price points and a diverse mix of residential, commercial and industrial end uses that each help to catalyze demand for one another,” he said.
McHugh said Rayonier generated about $15 million in sales at Wildlight in the fourth quarter from residential lots and from land sales for an industrial park and a senior housing community.
Rayonier is projecting 2023 earnings of 36 cents to 50 cents a share, down from adjusted earnings of 62 cents in 2022.
Newfold Digital expands in Brazil
Jacksonville-based Newfold Digital said Feb. 1 it acquired Dloja Virtual, a company that provides small and medium-sized businesses in Brazil with a platform for creating virtual stores.
Newfold, which provides website development services for businesses, was created by the 2021 merger of Web.com and Endurance Web Presence.
The company said Dloja Virtual will add to its services in the Brazilian market provided by a subsidiary called HostGator Latin America.
Terms of the deal were not announced.
Kentucky company buys Performance Security
Bates Security said Feb. 2 it acquired Performance Security, its third acquisition of a Jacksonville security firm in the last two years.
Lexington, Kentucky-based Bates said it follows acquisitions of Island Security and Southtech Integration (doing business as Dynamark) in Jacksonville.
Terms of the Performance Security deal were not announced.