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Robert Trigaux

Innovaro's dilemma: How do you help companies grow when you're so busy shrinking?




Tampa's Innovaro (formerly known as Utek) has suffered a steady slide in its stock price, which now hovers near 60 cents. What will be the company's fate? Above, a chart tracks the the five most recent years of Innovaro's share price.

Wake up and good morning. What happens when you are a company's whose mission is to help other businesses "grow and innovate" but your own track record says otherwise?

That's Innovaro's great conflict. The Tampa company based in Ybor City was once known as Utek. It has refashioned itself multiple times in recent years in an attempt to find a viable business niche. It does not help that Innovaro was struggling already when the recession hit. Now it's fighting to stay on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and avoid de-listing -- for several major reasons.

1. According to Innovaro, the NYSE believed that the company "had sustained losses which are so substantial in relation to its to its overall operations or its existing financial resources, or its financial condition had become so impaired, that it appeared questionable... as to whether the company would be able to continue operations and/or meet its obligations as they matured."

2. Earlier this year, Innovaro also was informed it was no longer in compliance with the NYSE because its market value had slipped under the $6 million required for the exchange.

The company's market capitalization as of Wednesday is now $9.7 million.

asalanumceoinnovaro.jpgThis week, Innovaro CEO Asa Lanum (photo, left) said in a release that Innovaro was meeting the demands of the exchange to stay on the NYSE.

That's great. But it does not solve Innovaro's deeper problems. Earlier this month, it spun off its consulting business, called Strategos, into a separate business. In September it sold off some of its other operating divisions for just $2 million. And in August the company reported revenues for the June 30 quarter of just $1.9 million, down from $4.7 million a year earlier. It also reported a $4.8 million loss in the quarter, worse than the $1.6 million lost in the same period of 2011.

Losses of that magnitude in a company worth under $10 million may prove problematic. It's quite a task to sell your services as a helper of other companies when your own house is in difficulty.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:21am]


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