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22 posts from July 2012


Insider purchases give RadioShack shares a boost

Several RadioShack directors and the company's CFO have given the troubled company's stock a boost by buying up thousands of shares following its big dip last week.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, director Robert Abernathy bought 100,000 shares; directors Julie Dobson, Frank Belatti, Jack Messman and Dan Feehan each bought 20,000 shares; and director Edwina Woodbury bought 15,000 shares. And Dorvin Lively, executive vice president and chief financial officer, acquired 25,000 shares.

The purchases were made on July 27, two days after the Fort Worth-based consumer electronics retailer reported a $21 million quarterly loss and announced plans to suspend its dividend.The stock fell 29 percent that day.

The shares were purchases for prices ranging from $2.50 a share to $2.63.

They're already in the black: RadioShack stock (ticker: RSH) was up nearly 15 percent today, to $2.91, on news of the insider investments.

-- Steve Kaskovich

Gourmet hamburger maker Twisted Root plans Bedford location

Twisted Root Burger Co. has bought the vacant property at the southeast corner of Central Drive and Harwood Road in Bedford and plans to open a restaurant in February.

It will be the company’s eighth Dallas-Fort Worth location. Twisted Root, which offers burgers made from scratch, has locations in Dallas, Richardson, Roanoke, Fairview, Plano and Arlington.

"We opened our first Twisted Root location just six years ago, and I’ve been thrilled at how the DFW community has embraced our better burger concept," said owner Jason Boso, in a statement. "By expanding to Bedford, we’ll be sharing our chef driven menu and fun, casual atmosphere with lots of new customers, and I’m confident they’ll like our burgers as much as we do."

The location is in front of Bedford Meadows shopping center. Its new owner, Legacy Alliance Holdings, has been working with the city to redevelop the corner and shopping center. The center added six new leases this year.

Legacy Alliance, based in Addison, bought the 59,909-square-foot shopping center in 2011. At the time, the center was 40 percent leased.

Roger Smeltzer with Vision Commercial negotiated the sale. Carter Wilson with Cambridge Companies represented Twisted Root.

_ Sandra Baker

FW Holiday Inn Express on Lancaster sold by developer

The Holiday Inn Express on the west edge of downtown Fort Worth has been bought by the Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund, a partnership of Admiral Capital Group and USAA Real Estate Co. in San Antonio, and Franklin Croft, Inc.

The 132-room hotel at 1111 W. Lancaster Ave., a part of the InterContinental Hotels Group family of brands, was sold by Pearl Investments, which bought the property in 2008 and renovated the former Care-A-Lot Inn building into the hotel. The structure was built in 1950.

The hotel, at Henderson Street just north of Interstate 30, is adding 31 rooms this year on the sixth floor of the building. The floor was not renovated in the initial project, but planned for.

The hotel will be managed by Dallas-based Aimbridge Hospitality, Admiral Capital said.

"This hotel benefits from a diverse base of demand generators and is uniquely positioned as a high quality, value alternative in the downtown Fort Worth market," said Daniel Bassichis, co-founder of the Admiral Fund, in a statement. "The ability to acquire this hotel at an attractive basis and create additional value with an expansion plan made this an exceptional opportunity for our fund."

Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund is a private equity fund with over $100 million in assets under management, including a 120,000-square-foot office building in El Segundo, Ca., two office buildings in Austin, a hotel in Houston and a performing mortgage on a non-gaming hotel in Las Vegas.

The fund was founded by David Robinson, philanthropist and NBA Hall of Famer, and Daniel Bassichis, formerly of Goldman Sachs.

Pearl Investments several years ago also renovated the former Clarion hotel downtown into an Embassy Suites.

The new owners financed the deal with a $13.9 million note with C-III Commercial Mortgage, deed records show.

- Sandra Baker


Cash America withdraws IPO for online lending unit

Fort Worth-based Cash America International, the nation's largest operator of pawn shops, has asked to withdraw its initial public offering proposed for its online consumer loan unit, named Enova International. Cash American last September filed for the IPO, which it estimated could raise up to $500 million. "The company has determined not to proceed with the public offering contemplated in the registration statement at this time," Cash America's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said. It did not elaborate. A company representative said Wednesday the company will discuss the move during its second-quarter earnings conference call set for Thursday morning.

Cash America acquired Enova in 2006 for $250 million. It had intended to retain a minority stake in the company after the IPO.

-- Jim Fuquay


GE has begun hiring and training workers for new manufacturing plants

GE Manufacturing Solutions has begun hiring and training employees for its new mining equipment and locomotive manufacturing operations in far north Fort Worth.

GE officials said Monday they have already hired and trained a handful of manufacturing workers to build electric-drive wheel systems for huge off-road vehicles used in mining.

Many more must be hired and trained before the locomotive manufacturing plant can begin operations in the fourth quarter.

“This has been a very challenging timetable to get a facility” set up and running, said Walter Amaya, the executive overseeing preparations for the two plants.

The Texas Workforce Commission presented a $744,845 check to Tarrant County College to fund job training for 275 GE workers. Training will be provided at TCC’s South campus and at the North Central Texas College welding training lab in Gainesville.

Once trained GE workers starting pay will be $17 an hour. Applications for positions at the two GE plants can only be submitted online at: www.getjobsintexas.com

-Bob Cox



Panda Power financing seen as breakthrough

A new electricity plant planned for Temple (the Star-Telegram's report is here) is more than just good news for the state's capacity-strapped power grid. Market observers say Panda's success selling $330 million in high-yield bonds represents a big step for U.S. banks trying to revive investor interest in new project financing. According to Reuters,it's "the first term loan financing to carry construction risk since a Missouri-based coal plant called Plum Point received financing in 2006."

The Reuters story is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


Texas hosts several of the nation's biggest for-profit hospitals

Medical City Dallas, with 645 beds, is the No. 7 for-profit hospital in the country in terms of beds, and Texas is home to eight of the top 20, according to a report by Becker's Hospital Review. The Lower Rio Grande Valley makes an unusually strong showing, with the No. 1 facility, Edinburgh Regional Medical Center at 816, along with No. 11 McAllen Medical Center (572) and No. 15 Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburgh (530). Other Texas hospitals are No. 4 Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, No. 10 Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, No. 18 Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso and No. 20 St. David's Medical Center in Austin.

Incidentally, as large as Edinburgh Regional looks, it wouldn't even crack the top 50 U.S. not-for-profit hospitals, according to another list by Becker's. That list is topped by New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City with 2,286 beds. The biggest Texas institution on that list is Baptist Medical Center in San Antonio at 1,443 beds, and the biggest North Texas institution is Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, No. 33 with 879 beds.

-- Jim Fuquay

First Cash reports record financial results

Arlington-based First Cash Financial Services, operator of pawn shops and consumer lending stores, said Tuesday it racked up record revenue, net income and earnings per share in the year's second quarter. First Cash earned $16.3 million on revenues of $132.8 million. Earnings per share of 56 cents matched Wall Street expectations. Operations in Mexico, which account for 57 percent of the company's revenues, were up 22 percent from a year earlier, after adjusting for currency exchange rates. U.S. revenues grew 15 percent. Pawn merchandise sales and pawn loan fees accounted for most revenue, with short-term "payday" loans accounting for 9 percent. First Cash said it had 518 stores in Mexico and 263 in the U.S. as of June 30.

-- Jim Fuquay

Panda Power announces new electric plant in Temple

Amid concerns about Texas' electricity capacity in the face of steady demand growth, Dallas-based Panda Power said Tuesday it landed financing for a 758-megawatt facility in Temple. Panda said construction will start immediately on the natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant, which   could be in operation by the end of 2014, about the time state officials have said the state's electricity capacity could be running uncomfortably short. Bechtel and Siemens Energy Inc. will build the facility.

“It has been an uphill battle, in a very difficult financial market, to get this project off the drawing board and out of the ground,” Todd W. Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds, said in a prepared release. “Since the beginning, our team never lost sight that Texas needs the power. Thanks to our financial partners, our Panda team and the strong backing of state and local officials, the State of Texas will soon be the beneficiary of critically needed electricity, more jobs and greater economic development.”

-- Jim Fuquay


Del Frisco's sets IPO price at $14 to $16

Southlake-based Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, which in January said it plans to go public, on Tuesday filed disclosures showing it hopes to issue up to 8.05 million shares at $14 to $16 each. The company will sell 4.33 million of the shares, raising an estimated $57.2 million after expenses, while its largest shareholder, Lone Star Fund, plans to sell at least 2.67 million shares, or up to 3.7 million shares if the demand exists. (Lone Star bought a predecessor corporation in 2006.) An issue date has not been announced, but the shares will trade under the ticker DFRG on the Nasdaq. Del Frisco's said it will use $50 million to pay down outstanding debt.

According to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Del Frisco's last year reported $9 million in net income on $201.6 million in sales. That compared to $8.7 million in earnings on $165.6 million in revenues in 2010. It operates 32 restaurants in 18 states under three names: Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Del Frisco's Grille.

-- Jim Fuquay


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