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Robert Trigaux

Amid strategic shift, Tampa's Utek Corp. fights recession, bigger losses



Utekstock8.11.09 Utek Corp. chief Doug Schaedler's strategy to shift the Tampa company from an investor in start-up companies to one based more on consulting fees remains a work in progress.

It's obviously tough to switch directions amid a difficult recession. The latest quarterly numbers from the company, unveiled this week, show us that much.

For the quarter ended June 30, Utek's revenue fell to $2.6 million from $4.9 million for the same quarter last year. Here's the complete earnings report.

DougSchaedlerUTEKScottKeelerUtek attributed the decline mostly to a $1.2 million decrease in the sale of technology rights revenue because the company decided to forgo most technology transfers in which it would receive stock (as opposed to cash). It also cited a $779,000 decline in innovation consulting services revenue-- this is the "consulting" business Schaedler wants to jumpstart -- due to "current adverse economic conditions."

Net result? Utek lost $6.2 million in the quarter versus just $541,000 lost in the same quarter of '08. As the stock chart above shows, Utek shares have been creeping lower pretty steadily. They hit a 52-week low in early July and have crept up a bit since then. Shares traded around $4.39 on Tuesday morning.

The curve ball in this set of numbersis Schaedler wants to reduce, not increase the risk at Utek by pursuing business that pays the company in cash, not young and unreliable start-up stock. Here's a column in May I wrote in which Schaedler elaborates on this plan.

(Photo: Scott Keeler of the St. Petersburg Times.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:25am]


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