JinkoSolar: No federal action since search

Agents searched the Jacksonville plant and the China-based company’s other U.S. facilities in May 2023.

  • By Mark Basch
  • | 12:05 a.m. May 2, 2024
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JinkoSolar is a at 4660 POW-MIA Parkway in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.
JinkoSolar is a at 4660 POW-MIA Parkway in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.
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Nearly a year after federal officials searched the company’s Jacksonville plant and its office in San Francisco, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. said no further action has been taken on the matter.

In a note in JinkoSolar’s annual report filed April 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the China-based solar module manufacturer said U.S. government officials searched the properties May 8, 2023, under a warrant.

“Our production plant promptly resumed production following the search and its normal operations and production were not negatively affected,” it said.

“As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any indictments or other documents presenting criminal charges against us.”

That information was part of a longer note in the annual report outlining the potential risks to JinkoSolar’s business from U.S.-China relations.

“Political tensions between the United States and China have escalated,” it said.

“Rising political tensions between China and the U.S. could reduce levels of trade, investment, technological exchanges and other economic activities between the two major economies, which would have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets.”

“The measures taken by the U.S. and Chinese governments may also restrict our ability to do business with entities both within and outside of China and may cause investors to lose confidence in Chinese companies and counterparties, including us.”

JinkoSolar opened its first U.S. plant at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center on Jacksonville’s Westside in 2019.

In April 2023, JinkoSolar was seeking city incentives to expand its Jacksonville operation. 

Amid the investigation, the City Council postponed voting on legislation that would approve a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant of up to $2.3 million for the plant’s expansion.

A spokesperson for JinkoSolar said May 2 that the company moved forward with the expansion on its own. It now employs about 550 people at the site, with as many as 600 expected to work there by the end of next month.

JinkoSolar reported 2023 revenue rose 43% to $16.72 billion and its adjusted earnings nearly tripled to $573.6 million.

The annual report said it operated 14 global production facilities as of Dec. 31.

The company had 57,397 employees, with the vast majority in China, it said.

This story has been updated with information from JinkoSolar about its expansion.

Landstar results lower in weak trucking market

Landstar System Inc. reported lower revenue and earnings in the first quarter, as the trucking industry continues to be impacted by weak demand for freight services.

The Jacksonville-based company said revenue fell 18% to $1.17 billion and earnings fell by 85 cents a share to $1.32.

“Landstar performed well in the 2024 first quarter, considering that the freight environment was characterized by soft demand and readily available truck capacity,” CEO Frank Lonegro said in his first quarterly conference call since assuming the role on Feb. 2.

Predecessor Jim Gattoni retired as CEO after the company’s previous conference call.

“Manufacturing levels trended below the level of the corresponding prior year period and inflation continued to have an impact on consumer spending on goods. We remain in a loose truck capacity environment when measured by historical standards and market conditions continue to favor the shipper,” Lonegro said.

“Even with that backdrop, Landstar’s 2024 first quarter top line results were better than expected, and our earnings performance was generally in line with what we expected. “

Landstar projected revenue of $1.10 billion to $1.15 billion and earnings of $1.25 to $1.35 per share.

Lonegro said truck volumes in the first few weeks of April were more in line with normal pre-pandemic seasonal trends.

Landstar is projecting second quarter revenue of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion and earnings of $1.35 to $1.55 a share.

Landstar had revenue of $1.37 billion and earnings of $1.85 a share in the second quarter of 2023.

Proficient Auto Logistics expects $195M from IPO

Proficient Auto Logistics Inc. is planning to sell 14.33 million shares of stock at $14 to $16 each in its initial public offering, according to an updated registration statement filed April 29.

The Jacksonville-based company’s first filing with the SEC on April 11 did not say how much stock would be sold.

Proficient is merging five companies that transport automobiles and produced combined revenue of $415 million last year.

The company expects net proceeds of about $195.2 million from its IPO if the stock is sold at the midpoint of its hoped-for price range.

Proficient intends to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “PAL.”

The IPO is expected to reach the market the week of May 6, according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital.

Cannabis retailer MedMen files for bankruptcy

Cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises Inc., which had targeted Jacksonville as a primary market for growth, filed for bankruptcy April 24 and said it is shutting down operations.

MedMen lists its headquarters office in Boca Raton, but it filed under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

“The difficult decision to shut down operations and commence the Bankruptcy Proceedings and Receivership Proceedings was made after careful consideration of the current financial condition of the Company and its subsidiaries, their inability to pay their liabilities as they become due and the anticipated enforcement actions of secured creditors,” MedMen said in a news release.

MedMen opened its first Northeast Florida dispensary in Jacksonville Beach in 2019 and had two other Jacksonville sites, with plans to expand in the market. However, its news release said it now operates in California, Nevada, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.

The company’s website said April 29 it was “down for scheduled maintenance.”

MedMen’s most recent financial report filed with the SEC showed $86.8 million in revenue for the nine months ended March 25, 2023, but a net loss of $48.4 million for that period.

St. Joe says new hotels help all of its developments

The St. Joe Co. reported higher revenue and earnings for the first quarter and said the expansion of its hotel business is helping its other real estate development activities in the Florida Panhandle.

Panama City Beach-based St. Joe said revenue rose 20% to $87.8 million in the quarter and earnings rose 34% to $13.9 million, or 24 cents a share.

 “We are building a diverse portfolio of complementary businesses. The growth of our hospitality segment exposes more visitors to and helps grow our residential communities, which in turn creates more customers for and helps grow our commercial leasing portfolio,” CEO Jorge Gonzalez said in an April 24 news release.

”As our commercial leasing portfolio grows, more shopping and entertainment opportunities arise, which further drives increased visitation,” he said.

St. Joe was a Jacksonville-based industrial conglomerate before selling off its other businesses in the 1990s to focus on development of its vast land holdings in the Panhandle. The company moved its headquarters from Jacksonville in 2010 to be closer to its development activities.

St. Joe said it opened five new hotels in the region in 2023 and now owns or is a partner in 11 hotels.

Hospitality revenue has become its biggest business, with revenue from that segment growing 60% to $39.3 million in the first quarter.

Residential real estate revenue rose by 10% to $30.8 million.



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