Just days after Tyson Foods Inc. filed a notification of the closing of its Jacksonville meat-processing plant, the food company said it is one of eight plant closures in 2023.
“We will continue to evaluate our production footprint and network to drive efficiencies,” CEO Donnie King said in a conference call with analysts after Tyson’s fiscal year-end earnings report, according to a transcript posted by the company.
“We’ve made significant changes in chicken by announcing the closure of six of our older, less efficient plants, which we expect to improve our capacity utilization and mix,” he said in the Nov. 13 call.
“In a similar move to leverage efficiencies and reduce network redundancies, we also recently made the difficult decision to take two of our smaller fresh meats case-ready value-added facilities offline.”
Tyson disclosed in its annual report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 that the company closed two chicken plants in both Missouri and Arkansas and one each in Virginia and Indiana.
The annual report didn’t say anything about the meat plant closings, which are coming after the end of the fiscal year, and King did not identify them.
However, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson filed a notice Nov. 8 under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that it will close its Jacksonville plant Jan. 8, eliminating 219 jobs.
Industry news website Just Food reported the other meat plant closing is in Columbia, South Carolina.
“Production from these locations will shift to larger, more efficient plants, and our harvest capacity, sales volume and, importantly, our customers will see no impact,” King said.
“We are reviewing whether there are similar opportunities across our segments,” he said.
Tyson’s annual report said the company operated five case-ready beef and pork plants at the end of the fiscal year.
Tyson bought the plant at 5441 W. Fifth St., in the Paxon area of West Jacksonville, in 2012.
While King didn’t specifically discuss the Jacksonville plant in the conference call, he did indicate trends in beef have changed since it opened.
“I think it’s important that when you’re evaluating beef that you evaluate it across the entire cycle, which is approximately 10 years, and I will tell you this thing moves quickly,” he said.
“A year ago, I was testifying before Congress with some of my peers because beef was making so much money and today, we’re talking about what it looks like on the downside.”
Tyson reported total sales in fiscal 2023 fell 0.8% to $52.9 billion and its adjusted earnings dropped by 85% to $1.34 a share.
Fortegra Group files IPO registration
The Fortegra Group Inc. filed its registration statement for another attempt at an initial public offering, which showed strong growth for the Jacksonville-based specialty insurance company.
Fortegra was publicly traded before it was acquired in 2014 by investment company Tiptree Inc. in 2014.
Tiptree tried to take Fortegra public in 2021 but pulled the IPO off the market when it couldn’t get the price it wanted.
Tiptree announced Nov. 1 it was again planning to launch the IPO and Fortegra filed the registration statement a week later.
“When our current Chief Executive Officer, Rick Kahlbaugh, joined Fortegra in 2003 as Chief Operating Officer, our business was oriented as a monoline insurance company with a narrow geographic footprint,” the filing said.
“Through strategic and focused decisions over the last 20 years, we have grown into a highly profitable, diversified and scaled multinational specialty insurer.”
Fortegra was founded in 1978 as Life of the South and changed its name to Fortegra in 2008.
The company had more than 1,100 employees in 25 offices in nine countries as of Sept. 30.
The company said its gross written premiums and premium equivalents have grown at a compound annual rate of 27% since 2019 and its average annual adjusted return on average equity has been 21%.
Fortegra’s revenue rose 28.4% in the first nine months of this year to $1.16 billion and adjusted earnings rose 38.7% to $83.1 million.
Tiptree owns about 73% of Fortegra and said it intends to retain a majority stake after the IPO, but the filing gives no further details on how much stock will be sold.
Fortegra intends to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TFG.”
Duos Technologies reports lower revenue
Duos Technologies Group Inc. reported lower third-quarter revenue and said its revenue for all of 2023 will be lower than it forecast.
Third-quarter revenue fell 62% to $1.53 million and its revenue for the first nine months of the year fell 35% to $5.95 million. It had been forecasting revenue of $20 million to $21 million for the full year.
The Jacksonville-based company describes itself as “a provider of machine vision and artificial intelligence that analyzes fast moving vehicles.” It focuses on technology for the railroad industry.
Duos said timing delays in contracts has caused revenue to be lower than expected.
“The net effect of the aforementioned timing challenges during 2023 is that we will not be able to book sufficient revenue to meet our guidance range and, thus, are withdrawing full year 2023 revenue guidance,” Chief Financial Officer Andrew Murphy said in a Nov. 14 conference call, according to a company transcript.
“While the near-term results have been lower than expected, I am confident in the long-term vision and progression towards those objectives,” he said.
CEO Chuck Ferry expects strong demand for Duos’ technology as the railroad industry focuses on improving safety.
“While full adoption of machine vision wayside technology, paired with AI, is going more slowly than we would like, there is strong consensus among industry leaders that this technology will be fully adopted in the coming years, as the rail industry makes continued safety improvements,” Ferry said.
“We believe that Duos is in a strong position with the support of our current rail customers to be in the leading edge of this adoption.”
Duos reported a net loss of $2.95 million in the third quarter.
Shoe Carnival results below expectations
Shoe Carnival Inc. reported third-quarter results below its expectations.
The footwear retailer controlled by former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said sales in the quarter ended Oct. 28 fell 6.4% to $319.9 million and earnings fell by 38 cents per share to 80 cents.
Shoe Carnival said it is now expecting earnings for all of fiscal 2023 of $2.65 to $2.75 a share, down from its previous forecast of $3.10 to $3.25.
The Evansville, Indiana-based company operates 401 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico mainly under the Shoe Carnival banner, but also under the Shoe Station brand.
“Shoe Carnival banner results softened and were below our expectations, as persistently hot and dry weather led to soft seasonal sales and a sluggish start to the boot season,” CEO Mark Worden said in a Nov. 16 news release.
“Despite near-term sales headwinds, our robust gross profit margins, debt-free balance sheet and strong cash flow generation position the Company well to pursue additional growth initiatives and M&A opportunities in 2024,” he said.
Weaver is chairman of Shoe Carnival and he and his wife, Delores, control 31.8% of the stock.
FNF investing in annuities and life unit
Fidelity National Financial Inc. said Nov. 13 it will invest about $250 million in its majority-owned subsidiary, F&G Annuities & Life Inc.
Jacksonville-based Fidelity spun off 15% of F&G as a separate public company in December 2022, while continuing to own the other 85%.
Fidelity said it is negotiating terms of the additional investment but did not say how it would affect its ownership interest in F&G.
The announcement came a week after Fidelity reported higher third-quarter earnings, saying a lift from the F&G unit offset a decline in revenue from its main title insurance business.
Fidelity said F&G contributed 31% of the company’s adjusted earnings in the quarter.
LFTD earnings and revenue rise
LFTD Partners Inc. reported third-quarter revenue rose 17% to $13.1 million and earnings rose by a penny to 4 cents per share.
Jacksonville-based LFTD’s main business is a subsidiary in Kenosha, Wisconsin, called Lifted Made, which makes hemp-derived and psychoactive products.
“Despite a chaotic industry and an uncertain regulatory backdrop, LFTD Partners has continued to operate profitably, participating directly in the hemp-derived products industry, and finding attractive ways to participate indirectly in the marijuana industry,” CEO Gerard Jacobs said in a Nov. 13 news release.
ParkerVision reports loss
ParkerVision Inc. reported a third-quarter net loss of $3.9 million, or 5 cents a share.
The Jacksonville-based company had no revenue in the quarter, as it continues to focus on several lawsuits against major telecommunications manufacturing companies, alleging they are illegally using ParkerVision’s patented wireless technology.
ParkerVision recorded $25 million in licensing revenue in the first quarter, resulting from a settlement agreement with Intel Corp. Because of that revenue, the company had a net profit of $10.6 million, or 12 cents a share, in the first nine months of 2023.
United Land Services expands with another acquisition
United Land Services announced Nov. 7 it acquired Benchmark Landscaping and Georgia Scapes.
Jacksonville-based United Land has completed 18 acquisitions in the landscaping services business since it was formed in 2020 by investment firms Centre Partners and LP First Capital.
The Benchmark and Georgia Scapes additions expand its operations in the Orlando and Atlanta areas.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.