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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 15, 2006 15 years ago

Corporate Report

Corporate Report: Naples-based Health Management Associates Inc. completed the sale of two psychiatric hospitals and a closed inpatient psychiatric facility in Lakeland Progress Energy, Tampa Electric seek price hikesLee Memorial plans purchase of health systemsSuperior Bancorp completes merger with 1st Kensington Bank parentNuevo Advertising Group attracts two new clientsBancshares of Florida to merge with Old Florida BancsharesExecutive shake-up at Morgan Beaumont Clockwork Home Services buys Nashville franchiseeOutback restaurant chainscomparable-store sales fall moreIndustrial Biotechnology Corp. buys bug-repellant companyMorgan Beaumont takes in more, but loses even moreRadiation Therapy Services acquires Beverly Hills centerCarbiz nears listing on over-the-counter boardNobility Homes riding above lower-demand home market

Corporate Report

Health Management Associates finishes sale

Naples-based Health Management Associates Inc. completed the sale of two psychiatric hospitals and a closed inpatient psychiatric facility in Lakeland to Psychiatric Solutions Inc. HMA officials report they will use the proceeds of the sale for general corporate purposes. The open hospitals include the 80-bed SandyPines in Tequesta and the 104-bed University Behavioral Center in Orlando.

After the pending sale of the 125-bed Southwest Regional Medical Center, the 103-bed Summit Medical Center, and the 76-bed Williamson Memorial Hospital, HMA will operate 57 hospitals in 14 states with about 8,329 licensed beds.

Progress Energy, Tampa Electric seek price hikes

St. Petersburg-based Progress Energy Florida has asked the Florida Public Service Commission to approve a cost adjustment to increase residential electric bills by about 3.4% to "reflect the rising costs of fuel used to generate electricity, as well as increased costs to comply with environmental regulations," according to company officials.

The proposed increas would by applied starting in January and would increase the cost for 1,000 kilowatt-hours to $3.72 per month. If applied, the increase is expected to raise a total of $161.4 million. Progress Energy officials say the increase would not add to the company's profit, because it expects its oil costs to increase by about 35% above the 2006 level with natural gas prices increasing by 12%. Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, provides electricity to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida.

Tampa Electric has made a similar filing to the commission. Tampa Electric estimates that its expenses for buying fuel and purchased power will be more than $100 million higher than its estimates a year ago. The increase would amount to $4.93 per month for 1,000 kilowatt-hours or a 4.5% increase. Tampa Electric officials estimate the average commercial and industrial customer bills would increase by 6% and 7.7%, respectively.

Lee Memorial plans purchase of health systems

The Lee Memorial Health System Board of Directors approved the acquisition of Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center and Gulf Coast Hospital. The closing of the purchases is expected no later than Oct. 31.

The deal is not expected to dramatically affect Lee Memorial Health System's construction of a new facility at Daniels and Metro parkways, adjacent to Gulf Coast Hospital. Once the new facility is complete in about two years, Southwest Florida Regional will no longer operate as an acute care hospital on the Winkler and Evans campus. With the new facility focusing heavily on surgical specialties, Lee Memorial Hospital's Cleveland Avenue campus expansion plans will be adjusted to avoid duplicating services.

The existing LMH facility will still undergo significant renovations and modernization, but at this point there is no perceived need to build a new surgical tower. Expansion plans for Cape Coral Hospital will remain as currently envisioned.

"This is the right thing to do for the patients we serve," says Jim Nathan, LMHS president. "I'm very grateful for the opportunity to participate in what I think will secure the LMHS vision - to become the best patient centered healthcare system in Florida by balancing quality, access, and cost."

The expanded health care system will cover nearly 1,600 acute-care beds and about 8,000 employees.

Superior Bancorp completes merger with 1st Kensington Bank parent

Birmingham, Ala.-based Superior Bancorp completed its merger with Tampa-based Kensington Bankshares Inc. The combination of the two community banks creates a banking franchise totaling $1.8 billion in assets with 38 banking offices. The existing Kensington locations will continue to operate under the 1st Kensington Bank banner for the near future.

As a result of the merger, Kensington Bankshares shareholders will receive 1.6 shares of Superior Bancorp common stock for each share of Kensington stock. Based on the Superior closing price on Aug. 31, the total value of the merger is $72.6 million.

Nuevo Advertising Group attracts two new clients

Sarasota-based Nuevo Advertising Group has been hired by the Fort Pierce-based Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, to provide Spanish translations of collateral materials related to its specialty license plate division. At the same time, Nuevo Advertising was also retained by WM Southwest Florida Market Area, from Palmetto to Fort Myers, to create and produce all Spanish-language recruiting tools including print, radio, television and website efforts. Nuevo Advertising is a marketing firm focused on reaching the Hispanic community.

Bancshares of Florida to merge with Old Florida Bancshares

Naples-based Bancshares of Florida, Inc. and Fort Myers-based Old Florida Bankshares Inc. have reached an agreement for the Naples bank to acquire Old Florida Bancshares. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of each company. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and shareholders approval. Bancshares officials expect to close the transaction in the first quarter of 2007.

As of June 30, Old Florida had total assets of about $326 million and shareholders' equity of about $26.4 million. Founded in 1998, it has four offices located in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, and Bonita Springs. In the same period, Bancshares had about $756 million in assets and shareholders' equity of $118 million. Last month, Bancshares completed its acquisition of Bristol Bank and its $90 million in assets.

Under the terms of the agreement, Old Florida shareholders may elect to receive either 1.7915 shares of Bancshares common stock, $38.50 per share in cash, or a combination of stock and cash. The value of the merger would be approximately $82.6 million.

Executive shake-up at Morgan Beaumont

Bradenton-based Morgan Beaumont founder and CEO, Clifford Wildes, is stepping down as CEO to focus on some of his other businesses. Wildes will remain chairman of the board.

Jerry R. Welch has joined Morgan Beaumont as CEO. Welch is chairman of the Board of Picture People Inc., a chain of 320 portrait studios. Welch was previously CEO of FAO Schwarz Inc., CEO of FAO Inc., Chairman and CEO of Right Start, Chairman and CEO of Glacier Water Services Inc., and a managing director and partner of Kayne Anderson Investment Management, Inc., a Los Angeles-based investment management firm. Welch will also join the company's board of directors.

Erik Jensen has resigned from the board but will remain as president of Morgan Beaumont.

At the same time, Raymond Springer has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing Interim CFO Alec Brophy. Springer was previously executive vice president and CFO for FAO Inc.

Clockwork Home Services buys Nashville franchisee

Sarasota's home-services franchisor/consolidator Clockwork Home Services Inc. (formerly known as VenVest Inc.) notched another acquisition recently with the purchase of Tab Hunter's One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating and Benjamin Franklin the Punctual Plumber franchises based in Nashville. Since 2004, the two franchises have grown their joint revenue by 60%. Last year the franchises brought in a total of about $5 million.

As part of the sale, Hunter is bringing his franchise know-how over to the sales side as Clockwork's new vice president of franchise sales.

Outback restaurant chainscomparable-store sales fall more

Conditions for Tampa-based OSI Restaurant Partners Inc.'s restaurants haven't improved yet this month. In a report on comparable store sales and average unit volumes for the restaurant brands for the four-week period ended Aug. 26, every brand except Fleming's Prime Steakhouse saw its comparable same-store sales decline. OSI officials attributed the decline in sales across all concepts to "weakness in casual dining segment traffic." The company operates in 50 states and 21 countries internationally.

In other brand news, Wine Spectator magazine recognized Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar with 37 of its Awards of Excellence. The August issue, announcing the annual awards, is considered one of the definitive guides in the world of wine. The Awards of Excellence are given by the Wine Spectator's judging panel of wine experts, connoisseurs, and editors and are based on a "combination of a top-notch wine list, menu, ambience, pricing and overall quality."

Four weeks ended Aug. 26, 2006

Domestic comparable store sales

(stores open 18 months or more)

Franchise and

Company-owned Joint venture System-wide

Outback Steakhouses -4.6% -5.1% -4.7%

Carrabba's Italian Grills -5.2% n/a -5.2%

Bonefish Grills -1.2% -7.7% -1.7%

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

and Wine Bars 2.4% n/a 2.4%

Roy's -3.6% n/a -3.6%

Domestic average unit volumes

Franchise and

Company-owned joint venture System-wide

Outback Steakhouses -4.6% -5.2% -4.7%

Carrabba's Italian Grills -7.4% n/a -7.4%

Bonefish Grills -1.3% -17.5% -2.3%

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

and Wine Bars -0.6% n/a -0.6%

Roy's -4.1% n/a -4.1%

Source: OSI Restaurant Partners SEC filings

Industrial Biotechnology Corp. buys bug-repellant company

Industrial Biotechnology Corp., a Sarasota-based company focused on new biotechnologies and innovations in the chemical industry, acquired a bio-repellant technology through the acquisition of Advanced Pheromone Technologies Inc. (APTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of UTEK Corp., in a stock transaction.

APTI holds the license to patents developed at Washington State University for a method to produce the aphid alarm pheromone (E)-B-Farnesene. Aphids, also known as greenfly, blackfly or plant lice, suck the sap from various plants, including crops, and causing substantial damage. The Farnesene acts as a non-toxic repellant and also attracts aphid predators.

Morgan Beaumont takes in more, but loses even more

Bradenton-based Morgan Beaumont Inc., a stored-value and debit-card market product provider and owner of the SIRE Network, released a largely worsened financial picture in its third quarter. According to the period ended June 30, 2006, Morgan Beaumont's net revenue nearly doubled, but its overall net loss quadrupled. The company reported a net loss for the third quarter of $4.35 million, or $0.06 loss per share, compared to a net loss of $1.087 million or $0.02 loss per share, for same period in 2005.

"As we move forward, we will work towards cutting our monthly cash burn and continue to focus on growing our core operations," says Cliff Wildes, CEO of Morgan Beaumont. The company reported a net loss of $9.4 million or $0.14 loss per share for the first nine months of 2006 compared to a net loss of $3.85 million or $0.08 loss per share for the comparable period in 2005.




For the For the For the For the

three three Nine Nine

months months months months

Ended Ended Ended Ended

6/30/2006 6/30/2005 6/30/2006 6/30/2005

(as restated) (as restated)

Net Sales $876,497 $481,612 $4,241,828 $672,649

Cost of Goods Sold (987,906) (381,564) (5,248,508) (478,806)

Total Operating Expenses 2,903,429 1,187,928 6,908,904 4,116,256

Loss from Operations (3,014,838) (1,087,880) (7,915,584) (3,922,413)

Interest expense (217,828) - (207,142) 11,861

Interest income 14,455 531 11,662 (13)

Net Loss $(4,358,091) $(1,087,349) $(9,399,843) $(3,850,565)

Net Loss Per Share -

Basic and Diluted $(0.06) $(0.02) $(0.14) $(0.08)

Source: Morgan Beaumont, Inc.

Radiation Therapy Services acquires Beverly Hills center

Fort Myers-based Radiation Therapy Services Inc., an operator of radiation therapy centers, purchased a single radiation therapy treatment center in Beverly Hills, Calif. The acquisition was designed to build on Radiation Therapy's presence in the Los Angeles market, which the company entered in May 2006, acquiring a facility in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Beverly Hills facility currently has an Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy program and treats about 40 patients daily. The practice generates annual revenues of about $6 million. A second linear accelerator will be added in early 2007 to meet the recent growth in patient volume. Radiation Therapy will begin operating the facility this month.

Radiation Therapy Services, Inc., which operates under the name 21st Century Oncology, runs 71 radiation therapy service centers in 14 states.

Carbiz nears listing on over-the-counter board

Sarasota-based Carbiz is one step closer to going public. The company's official registration statement was accepted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The final hurdle to listing on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board is approval by the U.S. National Association of Securities Dealers.

In the interim, Carbiz issued some unregistered stocks and warrants for shares to existing stockholders and board members bringing in $240,000 in cash and eliminating about $160,000 in debt. CEO Carl Ritter is "wishful" that the stock will be listed on the board soon.

In other Carbiz news, the company plans to hold a professional development conference for automotive dealers at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Petersburg Beach this November.

Nobility Homes riding above lower-demand home market

Ocala-based manufactured home builder Nobility Homes Inc. is reporting record sales for its fiscal third quarter and nine months ending Aug. 5. Sales for the quarter were up 9% to $14.9 million, compared to $13.7 million in the third quarter of 2005. Income from operations increased 8% to $2.2 million versus $2 million in the same period a year ago. Net income after taxes was up 12% to $1.7 million compared to $1.5 million for the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2006 improved 11% to $0.41 per share compared to $0.37 per share last year

For the first nine months of fiscal 2006, sales increased 11% to $45.3 million, compared to sales of $40.7 million in the first nine months of last fiscal year. Diluted earnings per share were up 17% to $1.23 per share, versus last year's nine months results of $1.05 per share.

Nobility's overall financial position also continued to improve with short- and long-term investments of $24.1 million and no outstanding debt. It's ratio of current assets to current liabilities is 4.0:1. Stockholders' equity increased to $39.99 million and the book value per share of common stock increased to $9.93.

At the same time however, company President Terry Trexler reported difficulties in shipments, manufacturing costs, supplies and materials costs. However, given the continued challenges, Trexler expected the company to out-perform the industry.



August 5, November 5,

2006 2005

Total assets $46,604,211 $45,056,862

Total liabilities 6,610,660 7,987,400

Net sales $14,892,812 $13,652,618

Cost of goods sold (10,587,683) (9,744,681)

Gross profit 4,305,129 3,907,937

Earnings per share

Basic $0.42 $0.37

Diluted $0.41 $0.37

Source: Nobility Homes, Inc.


• The Tampa Bay Division of US Home has extended its hurricane season offer of a $20,000 emergency home standby generator with the purchase of any single-family home in 14 Tampa Bay area neighborhoods through Sept. 30. The Carrier Home Standby Generator, 15-kilowatt, will be pre-wired so that the homeowner can reset from the utility power grid to emergency power generation with the touch of a switch.

The communities included in the generator offer include: Heritage Pines, Sterling Hill, The Verandahs, Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club, Concord Station, Suncoast Meadows Heritage Isles, Harrison Place, Trapnell Ridge, Creekside, Hampton Hills, Summercreek, South Fork and River Bend.

• Naples-based Kraft Construction Co. Inc. appointed Rafa Selvas as business development officer in its Sarasota office. In this role, Selvas will be responsible for sales and marketing activities and generating new business opportunities for Kraft throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Prior to joining Kraft, Selvas was senior project manager/consultant for Infinity Design + Development. Before that, he was a Designer/Project Manager for Habitat for Humanity.

• Baltimore, Md.-based full-service lender M&T Realty Capital Corp. has opened a new office in Sarasota to serve Southeast's growing real estate community. The office is at 6151 Osprey Drive, Suite 308, in Sarasota and is managed by David Fagan, vice president and senior account representative.

Fagan's responsibilities include debt and equity placement for insurance companies, pension funds, Wall Street conduits and Freddie Mac. He also solicits loans for multi-family housing, senior housing, assisted living, health care facilities and manufactured housing under M&T Realty Capital's direct lending programs as a Fannie Mae DUS and FHA lender. Mr. Fagan is responsible for developing new clients and financing opportunities in the states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Fagan previously was managing director of the Sarasota office for Largo Capital.

• Deborah Newman of Smith and Associates has been appointed director of sales for Signature Place, a mixed-use condominium/retail/office development being built at 100 First Ave. S. in downtown St. Petersburg.

As director of sales, Newman is in charge of the daily sales program of Signature Place, as well as coordinating the advertising, marketing and public relations components of the business plan. As a broker-associate, she ranked second in overall sales in 2005, making sales in several residential developments, including Madeira Cove, Snug Harbor, Golfview Condominiums, Ocean 12 and Vizcaya at Redington Beach.

•, a new e-commerce apparel Web site, designed by the Sarasota Web design group, GravityFree, to appeal to female race fans. The new parent company of the Web site is Commitment Line Apparel Inc.

• Andrew Wright and Darron Kattan, of Marcus & Millichap's Tampa office, and Enon Winkler, of Marcus & Millichap's Orlando office, handled the sale of the 188-unit Madison Pointe Apartments in Orlando for $7.96 million.

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