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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 1, 2006 15 years ago

Corporate Report

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Johnson Controls buys Environmental TechnologiesPeach's goes to Ohio, adds new Sarasota restaurantParker-Hannifin leaves Sarasota, eliminates 117 jobsBank of Florida buys Bristol BankChico's reports record quarter, same-store sales fall for main brandHigh-speed internet provider enters Tampa marketBusch Entertainment bringing Sesame Street to parksRoyal Palm shareholders approve Mercantile purchase

Corporate Report

by Sean Roth | Real Estate Editor

Johnson Controls buys Environmental Technologies

Johnson Controls Inc., a Milwaukee-based energy management and building systems company, acquired most of the assets of Largo-based Environmental Technologies Inc. The company designs, manufactures and supplies HVAC terminal products, including premium-variable air volume terminals, low-pressure air handling units and fan and blower coil units under the "ENVIRO-TEC" brand name. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

This acquisition was designed to add technology that enables more effective air handling to Johnson Controls. In addition, no changes are planned in the existing distribution strategy for the ENVIRO-TEC product line; products will continue to be offered through its existing sales channels, and manufacturing will remain in Largo.

Peach's goes to Ohio, adds new Sarasota restaurant

Bradenton-based Peach's Rise & Dine Restaurants awarded a development agreement for at least 50 locations in Ohio to Buckeye Peach's LLC of Columbus. Gary Hoyle, president and CEO of the breakfast-lunch restaurant franchise company, says Peach's also awarded a franchise to CGS Ventures LLC of Sarasota, a family-owned business that will locate a new restaurant at The Landings Shopping Center on Tamiami Trail south of Proctor Road.

Buckeye Peach's LLC is led by Michael Stasko, a 30-year veteran of providing equipment, design and smallwares to national and regional foodservice chains.

The first Ohio Peach's location will be in Grandview, a Columbus suburb. That location will be a franchise owned by John Roo's PRD Grandview LLC and is expected to open for business in December 2006.

Peach's currently operates 10 restaurants on the Gulf Coast.

Parker-Hannifin leaves Sarasota, eliminates 117 jobs

Cleveland-based aerospace company Parker-Hannifin Corp. will close its Sarasota gear-pump manufacturing plant by the end of March. The company is consolidating its hydraulic gear pump manufacturing operations to an existing plant in North Carolina. Workers have known of the relocation since April and about half of the 117 workers affected were offered company jobs elsewhere. Parker-Hannifin also instituted a division-wide voluntary workforce reduction plan.

Bank of Florida buys Bristol Bank

Naples-based Bancshares of Florida Inc. has completed its acquisition of Coral Gables-based Bristol Bank with the merger of Bristol Bank into the Bank of Florida-Southeast subsidiary. With the $90 million in assets added as a result of the merger, the consolidated assets of Bancshares are projected to exceed $845 million. Conversion of the former Bristol Bank locations to Bancshares' operating systems and signage is scheduled for early September.

Christopher Roden, the former Bristol Bank chairman, will become chairman of the Advisory Board of the Miami-Dade County market of Bank of Florida-Southeast. Patricia Frost, who previously served on the Bristol Bank Board of Directors, agreed to join the Bancshares of Florida Board of Directors.

Chico's reports record quarter, same-store sales fall for main brand

Fort Myers-based retailer Chico's FAS Inc. reported record company growth in its most recent quarter. Net sales for the quarter ended July 29 increased 18% to a record $405 million from $343 million in the same period last year.

Net income rose to $54 million, or $0.30 a diluted share, compared to net income of $49 million, or $0.27 a diluted share in the prior year's second quarter. For the six-month period, the Chico's brand same store comparable sales increased 2%, while the same store sales for the White House | Black Market brand increased by 26%.

Stock followers however focused more closely on a decline in same-store sales growth at the Chico's core store brand.

"I am pleased to report that the Company once again posted record sales and profits for the quarter," says Scott A. Edmonds, president and CEO of Chico's FAS. "We continue to see solid same store sales improvements at White House | Black Market and are pleased with its results. We have not realized the level of same store sales in the Chico's brand that we originally anticipated and it appears we are facing our first negative same store sales results in some time. We believe this same store sales decline is due to a combination of factors including the lack of 'wear now' merchandise in our stores, a reduction in overall store traffic, and a pre-planned marketing effort that turned out not to inspire our customers to shop."

For the six months ended July 29 net sales increased 18.9% to a record $797 million from $670 million for the prior year's six months ended July 30, 2005. Net income rose to $106 million, or $0.59 a diluted share, compared to net income of $96 million, or $0.53 a diluted share in the prior period.

Consolidated Statements of Income (Unaudited) (in thousands, except per share amounts)

Twenty-Six Weeks Ended July 29, 2006 % of Amount Sales July 30, 2005 % of Amount Sales

Net sales by Chico's/Soma stores $597,603 75 $539,071 80.4

Net sales by White House | Black Market stores 167,383 21 111,095 16.6

Net sales by catalog & Internet 24,533 3.1 14,992 2.2

Other net sales 7,115 0.9 5,022 0.8

Net sales 796,634 100.0 670,180 100

Source: Chico's FAS, Inc.

High-speed internet provider enters Tampa market

Reston, Va.-based XO Communications extended its fixed wireless broadband Internet service to nine new metro areas, including Tampa. Working through a partnership with its sister company, Nextlink, the company's service is targeted at business users and utilizes line-of-site wireless transmission to deliver networking and internet access.

The service is designed to allow faster internet services in areas where fiber optic internet access is not in place, which company officials say covers about 80% of the United States.

XO also extended service to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Busch Entertainment bringing Sesame Street to parks

Clayton, Mo.-based Busch Entertainment Corp., the family entertainment subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., signed a marketing long-term agreement with nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop to create fixed Sesame Street-themed attractions in four of its U.S. parks - SeaWorld California in San Diego, SeaWorld Texas in San Antonio, Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va. and Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa. In addition, the Sesame Street characters will make periodic appearances at SeaWorld Florida in Orlando beginning in 2007.

Kasen said that development of Sesame-themed attractions for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens will begin in the next several months as part of the deal, which establishes BEC as the exclusive U.S. theme park partner of Sesame Workshop.

Plans call for the first Sesame Street-themed attraction to open in 2008.

Royal Palm shareholders approve Mercantile purchase

Quincy, Ill.-based bank holding company Mercantile Bancorp Inc. reported today that shareholders of Naples-based Royal Palm Bancorp, Inc. approved the proposed acquisition of Royal Palm by Mercantile at a special meeting of shareholders. The holders of more than 91% of outstanding shares voted in favor of the transaction. Shareholder approval was one of the final steps in the acquisition process. The acquisition is scheduled to close before the end of year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Royal Palm shareholders will receive up to $25.50 per share in cash for each share they hold. The total transaction value is up to about $44.4 million.

Etc...

• Sarasota-based controlled-release fertilizer company Florikan ESA Corp. was awarded the Governor's Business Diversification Awards for 2006 in the category of Business Expansion. The company will be recognized at the Industry Appreciation Week held Sept. 18 in Tallahassee. Ed and Betty Rosenthal's Florikan was the Review's Technology Innovation Awards winner in 2004.

• Mancini Group LLC opened its corporate office in Tampa, handling nationwide pre-employment screening, background checks, consulting services for loss prevention, risk management, workers compensation cost management and more. Mancini Group is a member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists.

• A 7,500-square-foot Executive Office Suites has opened at 150 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon. The building offers individual business suites and features a conference room with multi-media equipment along with high-speed Internet, telephone equipment and unlimited usage of a copier and fax machine. Daily cleaning and utilities are included in the rental packages, which range from $349 a month to $990 a month for a four-person office.

• Sarasota-based National In-Store, a retail resources provider, has hired Ed Kovatch as senior vice president of sales. In his new position, Kovatch will focus on National In-Store's presence in the southeast, establishing strategic liaisons with manufacturers and retailers doing business with Home Depot, Lowe's, Family Dollar, Publix and others. Kovatch will work out of the NIS Atlanta office.

• Bradenton-based Coast Financial Holdings Inc.'s Board of Directors appointed Justin D. Locke, as chief financial officer of the holding company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Coast Bank of Florida, and has also appointed Anne V. Lee, to the Board of Directors of the holding company. Lee fills the vacancy on the Board of Directors that has existed since Brian Peters' resignation.

Locke has served as interim chief financial officer of the holding company and bank since July and formerly served as senior vice president/controller for the bank since January 2004 and as a financial analyst for the bank since 2002. Prior to joining Coast, Locke served as a staff accountant for four years with Republic Bank in St. Petersburg.

• Terri Behling, formerly with the Sarasota-based KSC Public Relations Inc., has become the new community affairs coordinator for Southwest Florida Water Management District's Sarasota Service Office. She will also coordinate the District's Cooperative Funding Initiative.

• Maitland-based Tijuana Flats will open a new tex-mex restaurant Sept. 5 in Wesley Chapel at the intersection of State Road 56 and Bruce B. Downs. The location is the eighth Tijuana Flats in the Tampa area and is the 47th Tijuana Flats nationwide. The restaurant has three other locations planned to open in Pasco County within the next 18 months.

• Sarasota-based national charter company JetShare U.S., which operates from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and the Salt Lake City International Airport, has added Learjet Model 60, mid-sized corporate jet, to it's air carrier fleet. JetShare currently operates two King Air passenger turbo-prop aircraft and two Westwind 1124 pure jets.

• Sarasota-based Spanish advertising firm Nuevo Advertising Group was hired by Bradenton-based retail giant Beall's Inc. to create and produce Spanish radio spots.

"We are excited to have found an agency in the Bradenton/Sarasota area that understands the Hispanic community. Nuevo Advertising Group will transform our Hispanic radio campaign to make it more relevant to the audience," says Gwen Bennett, vice president of advertising and e-commerce for Beall's and BeallsFlorida.com.

• Michele Delahunty Cloutier was hired as executive vice president and general merchandising manager for the Fort Myers-based retail chain Chico's FAS Inc. Cloutier will be reporting to Patricia Murphy Kerstein, chief merchandising officer for the Chico's Brand. Cloutier will be responsible for overseeing and directing all merchandising activities for the Chico's brand. Cloutier was most recently an independent consultant. From 2003 to 2004, she served as senior vice president and general merchandising manager at Ann Taylor Stores.

• Persystent Technologies, a Tampa-based I.T.-automation focused company, has appointed Bob Whirley as senior vice president of worldwide sales. Prior to joining Persystent, Whirley served as senior vice president of sales for eEye Digital Security. Whirley also held senior management and leadership positions with Computer Associates, Cabletron Systems and Exchange Applications.

• Peak 10, the Tampa-based independent data center operator and managed-services company, announced it had added Firehouse Subs as a customer. Peak 10 provides Firehouse Subs with managed co-location, reliable bandwidth and managed storage out of its data center facility in Jacksonville.

• Naples-based Peter Jacobsen Productions renewed the endorsement deals between Ketel One Vodka and Champions Tour professionals Arnold Palmer and Peter Jacobsen, while adding PGA tour professional Scott McCarron to its golf marketing initiatives over the next three years.

Ketel One will continue to feature Palmer in its advertising campaigns via print media, while Jacobsen and McCarron will anchor the brand's event strategy through appearances and outings.

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