Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Corporate Report & Third Quarter

  • By
  • | 6:00 p.m. December 14, 2006
  • Industries
  • Share

Corporate Report

First Advantage buys U.K. computer company

First Advantage Corp., a St. Petersburg-based global risk mitigation and business solutions provider, has acquired DataSec UK, Ltd. Based in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, DataSec provides computer forensic and electronic discovery services. DataSec also offers consulting services to help clients assess, manage, review and control the risks associated with computer technology in the workplace.

DataSec has an established client base that primarily consists of law firms, financial institutions and business in the United Kingdom and central Europe.

First Advantage, through a recently created subsidiary, First Advantage Eurasia Litigation Consulting, has acquired the company to establish a European base of operations for its Litigation Consulting Services unit. As part of First Advantage, DataSec's employees will operate a new office being established in central London. In addition, First Advantage has opened an office and a data center in Brussels, which is being staffed with forensic, investigative and technical professionals.

"The addition of DataSec will increase the depth of expertise in our Litigation Consulting Services unit, and our expanding network of offices will strengthen First Advantage's presence in the European market," said John Long, chief executive officer of First Advantage, in a press release announcing the purchase.

First Advantage is a majority-owned subsidiary of The First American Corp.

In other news, First Advantage also laid out next year's guidance that puts full year earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.18 to $1.24, including an estimated $0.14 per share impact of expensing share-based compensation.

Progress Energy, Seminole Electric pen energy sharing deal

St. Petersburg-based Progress Energy Florida has reached a long-term agreement to provide wholesale power to Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Progress Energy will provide 750 megawatts of capacity and energy to Seminole Electric for seven years, starting in 2014. The new agreement takes effect after the existing 30-year wholesale contract expires in 2013.

Seminole Electric is a Tampa-based generation and transmission cooperative. Seminole's 10 distribution cooperatives serve more than 1.6 million individuals and businesses in portions of 46 Florida counties.

"The agreement will help us maintain diversity in our power-supply portfolio by providing another cost-effective and reliable third-party source of supply that complements Seminole-owned generation," Tim Woodbury, senior vice president and chief strategic officer for Seminole said in a press release announcing the deal.

Progress Energy Florida also has signed a five-year agreement with the city of Mount Dora for about 26 megawatts of service beginning Jan. 1. Mount Dora owns and operates its own municipal electric utility and serves about 6,000 customers.

Both agreements will be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Family-owned Congress Jewelers sold to national public company

Bonita Springs-based Congress Jewelers has been acquired by Finlay Enterprises, the largest operator of licensed fine jewelry departments in department stores throughout the United States.

"Day-to-day operations at all five Congress Jewelers stores will continue without change or interruption, with the same personnel and commitment to our customers," Scot Congress, president and co-owner, said in a press release announcing the deal. "Teaming with Finlay will help us achieve two goals. We will more firmly establish Congress Jewelers as the best source for the finest jewelry in Southwest Florida. This also enables us to move more quickly to expand throughout Southwest Florida and beyond."

Finlay Enterprises Inc., listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock symbol FNLY, recorded sales of $990 million during the 2005 fiscal year. Finlay operates in about 800 locations, including major department stores. Last year, Finlay acquired Carlyle & Co., another family-owned chain of jewelry stores with a customer base and merchandising philosophy that are similar to Congress Jewelers.

Congress Jewelers, founded on Sanibel Island in 1983, has stores on Sanibel, Bonita Springs, Key West and two in Naples.

Roskamp Institute running MS drug study

Sarasota's Roskamp Institute is participating in a pharmaceutical research study for relapsing/remitting Multiple Sclerosis sufferers. Although the Roskamp Institute's primary focus is on Alzheimer's disease, Roskamp officials say the institute has a significant interest in MS due to findings that suggest there are some similarities when studying the immune system response in the brain of persons with Alzheimer's disease and MS.

"The white blood cells, also known as T-cells, contain a surface marker called CD40 that may play an important role in both Alzheimer's disease and MS," said Dr. Andrew Keegan, an investigator in Neurosciences at the Roskamp Institute's clinical trials division, in a press release. "Our commitment to finding cures to neurodegenerative disorders, such as MS, has led us to participate in this study sponsored by Novartis that will examine the use of a new investigational drug called fingolimod."

Research scientists want to determine whether the drug, which has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, can help people with relapsing-remitting MS.

Researchers want to determine if the drug makes white blood cells move away from areas of inflammation and redirects them toward lymph nodes and other places in the body where they rest. They believe these white blood cells play an important role in the inflammation process associated with MS.

The Roskamp Institute is looking for volunteers to assist in the study. Participants must be 18 to 55 years old, have relapsing-remitting MS, be ambulatory and medically stable.

Michael Saunders & Co. takes three awards in London

Sarasota-based real estate firm Michael Saunders & Co. won three of the top honors at this year's International Property Awards. The company won for "Best International Real Estate Agency," "Best Real Estate Agency in the United States" and "Best Agency Marketing."

The 13th annual awards are considered especially prominent in the global real estate market and have even been dubbed the "Oscars" of the property industry.

With sales of more than $3 billion in 2005, Michael Saunders & Co. is ranked 48th among the top 100 real estate companies in the U.S. and among the 35 most influential Realtors in luxury real estate.

Walters Industries' Natural Resources faces tough road

Tampa-based Walter Industries Inc.'s Natural Resources segment lowered its metallurgical coal sales expectations for the fourth quarter, primarily as a result of delayed shipments.

Delivery of the equivalent of two vessels, of committed tonnage originally scheduled for December, has slipped into early 2007. Natural Resources also lowered its fourth quarter coal production forecast by about 100,000 tons versus previous expectations, with the shortfall primarily coming from slight reductions at two mines.

Reduced production not only increased unit costs, but also lowered the amount of available coal for sale on the spot market. The lower production and reduced spot sales had the effect of impacting the company's ability to reach the higher end of its prior earnings expectations range.

The company said it now expects to report full-year 2006 earnings from continuing operations in the range of $3.80 to $4.00 per diluted share, versus the previously communicated range of $4.20 to $4.60 per diluted share.

In November, coal production returned to levels in line with expectations, and fourth-quarter production is projected to exceed the third quarter by more than 25%.

In addition, Walter Industries announced that the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 9-0 ruling in favor of the company's United Land subsidiary resolving long-standing allegations asserted by Drummond Company, LLC. In a case filed in 2001, Drummond claimed the right to mine all surface-minable coal owned by United Land and located in an area known as the Warrior Basin in north central Alabama. In a trial court decision last year, Drummond's claims were denied. Drummond had appealed that decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.


• Steve Tombrink, executive vice president of Grubb & Ellis Commercial Florida and managing director of the firm's Tampa Bay office has been made president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), one of the development industry's top professional organizations.

• Thinking Systems Corp., a St. Petersburg-based medical imaging software company, has released its enhanced Web-based Thinking RIS. Thinking RIS is extended Internet-based support for the company's flagship PACS-RIS product family that is known for its support of several cutting-edge technologies, such as PET-CT and SPECT-CT fusion, nuclear cardiology processing and analysis, general nuclear medicine processing and review, cardiac and other tests.

• Heathrow-based Ruth's Chris Steak House Inc. has opened a new location in Bonita Springs/Estero. The restaurant, in Coconut Point Mall at South Tamiami Trail and Coconut Road, is Ruth's Chris' 12th restaurant in Florida. Ruth's Chris Steak House Inc. is one of the largest fine-dining companies in the U.S., as measured by the total number of company-owned and franchise-owned restaurants.

• Bradenton-based Horizon Bancorporation Inc. has announced a 10 cent per share dividend to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15, 2006, to be payable on Jan. 15, 2007.

• The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce hired Stephen A. Smith & Associates to execute its new corporate branding program. 

• The Progressive Group of Insurance Cos., which sells vehicle insurance to consumers under the Progressive Direct and Drive Insurance from Progressive brands, has opened a second Service Center in the Tampa area and has instituted a new "concierge" level of claims service reducing the time each driver spends on the claims/repair process. 

 If drivers choose to use the new Clearwater Service Center, in Oldsmar, they can simply drop off the damaged vehicle and, in about 15 minutes, can leave in a rental car assured that a claims representative will handle the process from beginning to end. 

• Sarasota County Government kicked off the public phase of its major employment center study by Atlanta-based EDAW Inc. Major Employment Centers (MECs) are planned or existing concentrations of industrial, manufacturing, wholesale and office employment in Sarasota County identified in the county's future land use plan to promote economic development. MECs are generally more than 100 acres and located near major transportation routes.

The MEC study is scheduled for completion in July 2007.

• The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC) has launched a new web site at designed by Tampa-based Bayshore Solutions. The new site includes a searchable database of commercial properties for sale or lease, a job search tool and recruitment resources for employers, information for expanding or relocating businesses in Sarasota County, demographic information, grant applications, a calendar and more.

• Fayetteville, N.C.-based marketing and advertising firm SMITH, was named agency of record by the Charlotte County Visitor's Bureau. SMITH will be conducting a comprehensive brand awareness, advertising and public relations program utilizing a full range of print, broadcast and online media to further enhance Charlotte County's award-winning tourism campaign.

• Manatee Community College won three first-place and two second-place marketing/advertising awards in 2006 Florida Association of Community Colleges' Institutional Advancement Commission competition. MCC won first-place awards for a 2005 President's Report to the Community, a brochure titled "Create Your Future Success Story," and a viewbook showcasing facts and figures about MCC campuses, financial aid, athletics, clubs, student services, and associate degree programs. Second-place awards were presented for an online version of the MCC Viewbook and a 2005-06 Factbook, which provides faculty, staff, students and local communities with a statistical reference for college information.

• Ads 2 Go Inc. will begin operating its mobile advertising trucks in Manatee and Sarasota counties starting in January. The lime green trucks are designed to stand out in traffic and offer scrolling advertising space on all four sides. For night routes, the inside of the truck is fully illuminated creating a backlight for the ads. Ads 2 Go Inc. is owned and operated by Sarasotans Marge and Bo Bonura.

• Tenby Pharma Inc. has changed its corporate name to Sirion Holdings Inc. This comes after a recent transaction where Tampa-based Sirion Therapeutics Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tenby. As part of the deal, Sirion's former stockholders acquired control of Tenby Pharma, and Tenby Pharma became the parent holding company for Sirion and its businesses. Additionally, in connection with the transaction, Tenby Pharma secured $25 million in financing from a group of affiliated institutional investors to develop and commercialize the Sirion portfolio of products.

Sirion Holdings Inc. is a holding company for Sirion Therapeutics Inc. Sirion Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative ophthalmic products.

• The Greater Sarasota Coaches Alliance is introducing a new coaching e-zine along with the launch of a revamped and updated website,. The quarterly e-zine, Coach Insighter, will focus on professional development and business management.

• Tampa-based Turneffe Direct Marketing Group has introduced MedicaZt, a new sales and marketing product, directed towards the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

• TIB Financial Corp., a Naples-based community banking company, has declared an increase of $0.00125 in its fourth quarter cash dividend per share on its common stock, bringing the dividend to $0.06. The change represented an increase in excess of 2.1% over the cash dividend declared in December of 2005. The dividend is payable on Jan. 10, 2007, to TIB Financial stockholders of record as of Dec. 31. The cash dividend represents $0.24 per share annualized.

"Our proposed acquisition of Bank of Venice will result in a larger footprint for the company to build on," said Edward V. Lett, CEO and president, in a press release. "We plan to continue to grow while not losing focus of our core values."

TIB Financial Corp. has about $1.26 billion in total assets and 16 full-service banking offices throughout the Florida Keys, Homestead, Naples, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers.

• Sirion Therapeutics, Inc., a Tampa-based ophthalmic-focused biopharmaceuticals company, has started enrollment of a phase II clinical trial, which will evaluate fenretinide in the treatment of Geographic Atrophy in patients with age-related macular degeneration. The new phase II trial is a proof of concept trial being performed as a multi-center, randomized, double-masked, placebo controlled, dose-comparison trial in up to 225 patients at approximately 20 sites in the United States. Sirion acquired the fenretinide compound in July through the acquisition of the San Diego biopharmaceutical company Sytera Inc.


Related Articles