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Corporate Report: Brown & Brown CFO retiring, subsidiary buys Alamo Group


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  • | 5:29 p.m. January 14, 2010
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A subsidiary of Daytona Beach- and Tampa-based Brown & Brown Inc. has purchased the assets of San Antonio's Alamo Insurance Group Inc., provider of property and casualty, employee benefits and personal insurance, plus risk management services with annual revenues of $4.3 million.

Alamo's chairman and CEO Pat McMahan and president Mike Gilpin will continue to operate from their San Antonio and McAllen locations under the same company name.

In other Brown & Brown news, Jim W. Henderson, vice chairman and chief operating officer plus a member of the board of directors, plans to retire effective in August. He has been with the company and its predecessor for the past 25 years, including as chief financial officer and profit center leader of its Daytona Beach retail operations, senior vice president, executive vice president and president.

Brown & Brown Inc. offers insurance and reinsurance products and services, as well as risk management, third-party administration, managed health care and Medicare set-aside services and programs.

Walter Energy settles dispute with Turkish steelmaker Erdemir
Walter Energy, a Tampa-based producer and exporter of premium coking coal for the global steel industry, settled a dispute with Turkish steelmaker Erdemir regarding more than 280,000 metric tons of premium coking coal that it had contracted to buy between 2008 and last year for $319 per metric ton.

Per the agreement, Erdemir will accept all the remaining carryover coal between April 1 and March 31, 2011.

Walter Energy has already delivered half of the original contract total of 560,000 tons and received payment in full for that amount at the original contract price.
“We are happy to have this issue resolved, and we look forward to continuing what has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship with one of our most important customers,” Victor Patrick, CEO of Walter Energy, said in a press release.

Walter Energy also produces steam coal and industrial coal, metallurgical coke and coal bed methane gas.

Clearwater's Tech Data wins several Channel Insider awards
Channel Insider publication named Clearwater-based Tech Data Corp. its Bull's Eye Distributor of the Year and company CEO Robert Dutkowsky Distribution Executive of the Year.

Tech Data's Technology Solutions Tour was also selected as a Contender for Channel Conference of the Year.

Channel Insider received nearly 500 nominations of companies and associations for nearly 30 Bull's Eye Awards which were categorized according to Champion, Contender and Challenger.

According to Channel Insider, “The programs and initiatives launched by Tech Data over the past year are a reflection of the progressive thinking of the distributor's leadership and operations teams. Solution providers and vendors alike tell [us the company] is superior in consistent execution of its service agreements, operational programs and future vision.”

NeoGenomics plans restructuring of charges, client relationship
Fort Myers-based NeoGenomics Inc. says it plans to take up to $500,000 in restructuring and other charges including severances and recruiting fees for the quarter that ended December 31 for costs related to restructuring the company's management team.

In addition, the company is currently restructuring its relationship with Response Genetics, which provides it with KRAS protein- based molecular testing, which was unprofitable in 2009. NeoGenomics will report $1.1-million less in fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) testing revenue from the client in the fourth quarter than it did for the same period in 2008. The lost revenue had 70% gross margins and so far has only been replaced with $300,000 of the much lower-margin immunohistochemistry testing revenue from Response Genetics.

“Although we are still finalizing our year-end financials, we are expecting fourth quarter revenue in the range of $7.7 to $7.9 million and a net loss of approximately $1.3 to $1.5 million,” Douglas VanOort, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a press release. “While our sales productivity continues to increase each month, it is not yet at an acceptable level. In addition, laboratory staffing has been increased in expectation of higher test volumes and for the launch of new products, and will result in a temporary reduction in gross margin. We currently expect fourth quarter 2009 gross margin to be approximately 47 to 48% of revenue.”

VanOort says investors should expect a net loss of about 1 cent a share in the first quarter of 2010, but that the company can “break even in the second quarter and return to profitability in the second half.”

NeoGenomics Inc. is a CLIA-certified clinical laboratory that specializes in cancer genetics diagnostic testing.

TIB Financial stock below Nasdaq $1 minimum threshold
TIB Financial Corp., the Naples parent company of TIB Bank and Naples Capital Advisors Inc., was notified by Nasdaq that based upon the closing bid price for its common stock for the last 30 consecutive business days, the company no longer meets the $1 minimum bid required for listing.

The company has a grace perio d of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with the rule.

TIB Financial must achieve a minimum stock closing bid price above $1 for at least 10 consecutive business days prior to July 6 to comply. It may be eligible for an additional grace period if it meets the initial listing standards, with the exception of bid price for the Nasdaq Capital Market.

“While we are disappointed in the current market price, we believe the market will acknowledge the progress we are making and look forward to regaining compliance within the grace period,” Thomas J. Longe, vice chairman, CEO and president, said in a press release.

TIB Financial reports $1.7 billion in total assets and has 28 offices in the Florida Keys, Homestead, Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Venice and Nokomis. Naples Capital Advisors Inc. is a registered investment advisor with $144-million worth of assets under advisement.

Ameritex to make canvas doors for Chrysler electric motorcars
Bradenton-based Ameritex Fabric Systems, which became a division of the Taylor Made Group last year, will supply canvas doors for Chrysler Group Global Electric Motorcars LLC.

Ameritex moved into a Taylor Made facility and is focusing on fabric-related products in a strategic shift away from the marine industry due to the recession. Taylor Made, which recently closed a fabric plant in Georgia and integrated the operation with Ameritex, will concentrate on windshield design and manufacturing.

“Our relationship with Global Electric Motorcars is part of our plan to diversify at least 25% of our business beyond the marine industry,” said Ameritex president Don Zirkelbach in a press release. “The combination of Taylor Made and Ameritex with our numerous patents opens up tremendous opportunities.”

Global Electric Motorcars makes six separate models of battery-powered GEM cars used primarily by government agencies, resorts, residential communities, universities, medical and corporate centers, sports teams, taxi-shuttle services and consumers. Ameritex is planning to expand into the recreational vehicle and golf cart industries.

Ameritex has 58 employees and plans to add 10 to 20 manufacturing jobs in the next year.

Inuvo completes offering, restructures Wachovia debt
Clearwater-based Inuvo Inc., a provider of online marketing services, has raised $4.2 million through a common stock offering at 25 cents per share to restructure the company's existing credit. As a result, it has restructured its loan agreements with Wachovia Bank NA, which will provide debt financing to the company through March 31, 2011.

“Having sufficient and secure capital to fund strategic initiatives is critical to our ability to deliver results for shareholders,” Richard K. Howe, president and CEO of Inuvo, said in a press release.

New investors in the company include Unterberg Capital Partners, Galt Asset Management and Carrelton Asset Management.

Three Naples attorneys form Garlick, Hilfiker & Swift
Long-time Naples attorneys Thomas Garlick, Alan Hilfiker and Richard Swift Jr. have formed Garlick, Hilfiker & Swift, LLP, that will specialize in general, real estate, trusts and estates, commercial banking, corporate and business law, and probate litigation. Its office is in the Galleria at Vanderbilt Road in North Naples.

Garlick and Hilfiker were also founding partners of the Naples office of Harter, Seacrest & Emery, LLP, in the early 1980s, and Garlick and Swift are former partners of Garlick, Stetler & Peeples LLP.

SRI/Surgical Express promotes Faris to CFO
SRI/Surgical Express Inc., a Tampa-based reprocessor of reusable surgical devices, has promoted Mark R. Faris to vice president and chief financial officer. He has been serving as interim principal financial officer since last April.

Faris joined SRI as controller and vice president in February of 2007. He was previously with WellCare Health Plans Inc., as director of treasury, and as director of finance and controller of regeneration technologies.

SRI Surgical serves hospitals and surgery centers in 19 states from 10 reprocessing facilities and four distribution centers.

Judge grants stay for Odyssey during black swan appeal
The U.S. district judge has adopted the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation in the “Black Swan” case involving Tampa-based shipwreck exploration and recovery firm Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. in favor of Spain.

However, the judge has stayed the order vacating the arrest warrant for the shipwreck and the return of the recovered coins to Spain until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules in the case, which will allow Odyssey to keep the coins pending its outcome.

Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO, said in a press release, “The ruling does not affect the current operations of Odyssey, and we have not been counting on any revenue from the Black Swan since it was clear that this case would go to appeal no matter which way the judge ruled. We are moving ahead with our other current projects.
The vast majority of our projects don't have the same potential legal issues that have surfaced in this case.”

Odyssey Marine Exploration has argued that the remains of The Mercedes ship should not be covered under sovereign immunity giving possession of the shipwreck to Spain because the ship was on a commercial mission when it sank.

“The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act only applies to sovereign governments and their property and has been misapplied by this court,” Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey vice president and general counsel, said in a press release. “We will file our notice of appeal and look forward to presenting our case in that forum.”

 

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