Thursday, September 20, 2018
Business

Trigaux: Tampa Bay’s corporate performers: Some are humming while others can’t carry a tune

Record stock markets. Lowest jobless rate in 17 years. If companies are not performing well now, well....

Let’s take a quick peek at Tampa Bay’s major publicly traded companies, plus a few based elsewhere but play big roles in our economy . Most of them have reported their latest quarterly performance that ended Sept. 30. Here’s a sampling of who’s rocking right now with strong sales and profits, who’s just getting along, and who’s suffering.

Who’s rocking?

• Raymond James Financial: Record sales, Record net income. The frequency of these descriptions undermines the impact. The St. Petersburg investment firm’s on a roll, fueled of course by record stock market prices. That’s why "RayJay" remains Tampa Bay’s wealthiest (by stock market value) company at close to $12 billion.

• WellCare Health Plans: If there’s another public company that could give Raymond James a run for its money as the most valuable company in Tampa Bay, it’s this one. The Tampa provider of Medicare and other government sponsored health care programs recently saw its stock price break $200 a share and its market value flirt with $9 billion.

• Superior Uniform: Shares have climbed close to 20 percent this year, hovering near an all-time high of just under $25. The Seminole-based maker and designer of uniforms for various industries will hit its 100 year anniversary in 2020. May we all be so vibrant at the century mark.

• Jabil: The St. Petersburg electronics manufacturer won’t put out its quarterly numbers for another month — it does not operate on the calendar year — so what we know of its performance is a few months old. But Jabil’s market value cracked $5 billion and its recent acquisitions appear on their way to help diversify its revenues.

Who’s just getting along?

• Tech Data Corp.: Tech Data’s third quarter of fiscal 2018 earnings come out Monday, so (like Jabil) we’re depending on earlier and slightly dated numbers. Tech Data climaxed this year with the biggest acquisition of its history (the Technology Solutions unit of Avnet). There may yet be some digestion issues as the companies fully merge but the longer term prospects of becoming a more geographically global tech distributor with a broadened product line should only mean more revenues and stronger profits. Tech Data stumbled and underperformed in the last full quarter that ended Aug. 31. The new quarter will confirm whether Tech Data remains a "still rebounding" or "back in the fast lane" enterprise.

RELATED COVERAGE: Weak earnings sink Tech Data Corp. shares in after-hours trading.

• Bloomin’ Brands: Flat sales and weak earnings. The Tampa parent of Outback Steakhouse and other prominent chains is trying to reinvent itself but activist investors already are knocking on the door talking about selling the company.

Who’s suffering?

• HSN: Alas, Tampa Bay lost a major corporation born and raised here with the announced sale earlier this year of HSN to its arch competitor QVC. Looks like there wasn’t enough demand to be selling housewares, clothing and electronics on cable TV channels and online using live pitch men and women.

• Frontier Communications: If this cable TV/Internet’s stock decline in 2017 gets any steeper, it could charge an admission fee as a theme park ride.

RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: At struggling Frontier Communications, the bleeding cannot go on forever.

• SeaWorld Entertainment: The Orlando theme park company, parent of both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, just can’t seem to tell a rebound story that will stabilize its falling stock price. The cheaper that price gets, the more likely we will hear more rumors of a takeover by another major provider of park entertainment. It hardly seems fair, especially since Busch Gardens had nothing to do with the company’s massive stumble. Perhaps a new owner — for Tampa’s Busch Gardens sake, at least — is the best SeaWorld can hope for.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

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