Make us your home page
Instagram

For many Tampa Bay area stocks, 2009 was banner year

Flanked by chief operating officer Thomas Cason, Aerosonic Corp. CEO Douglas Hillman, left, holds an Electronic Flight Instrument System that Aerosonic manufactures. The company’s stock was the bay area’s top performer over the past year.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Flanked by chief operating officer Thomas Cason, Aerosonic Corp. CEO Douglas Hillman, left, holds an Electronic Flight Instrument System that Aerosonic manufactures. The company’s stock was the bay area’s top performer over the past year.

You know 2009 was a fabulous year for bay area stocks when a company whose shares soared 184 percent didn't make the cut of the five hottest.

Indeed, of 41 bay area stocks tracked by the St. Petersburg Times, more than a third saw their prices at least double. Thirty companies, more than 70 percent, ended the year on the upside.

The region's biggest public companies, Tech Data and Jabil Circuit, both relished huge stock gains north of 150 percent.

Coming after a painful 2008 in which only one sizable bay area public company wound up with a higher stock price (Tampa call center operator Sykes Enterprises), it was quite the rebound year.

None of the superstar local performers of 2009 could top Aerosonic Corp. The Clearwater airplane parts maker posted a whopping 553 percent return.

The surge was all the more sweet for the 200-employee company given Aerosonic's rough 2008: a management shakeup; a devastating fire at its Clearwater plant on Hercules Avenue that temporarily crippled its ability to make virtually its entire product line; and a credit squeeze that forced it to turn to its customers for financial support.

"A lot of things that happened to us could have sunk of lot of companies," Aerosonic spokesman Mark Perkins said. "A lot of people, I think, wrote us off. That was one reason the stock was so low and rebounded so far."

In December, the company reported a third-quarter profit of $728,000 on $7.5 million in sales, compared with a loss of $992,000 on just $2.9 million in sales in the year-ago period.

Perkins credited the rebound to loyal employees, customers who stuck by Aerosonic and a new management team headed by CEO Doug Hillman and chief operating officer Tom Cason.

"The most important thing has been the support of our customers to stay with us as we went through our pain and regained our footing," he said.

The year was toughest on a pair of well-known Tampa Bay companies. Stock in treasure salvager Odyssey Marine Research sank by 56 percent, while shares in Utek Corp. fell 52 percent as the Tampa company tried to switch gears from investor in promising startups to a largely consultant role.

The Times ranking omitted area companies that were not public for a full year, leaving out the phenomenal run of Walter Energy spinoff Walter Investment Management (WAC). Since the real estate investment trust containing mortgage loans was created in April through a reverse merger with Hanover Capital Mortgage Holdings, Walter Investment has seen its stock price double to more than $14 a share.

The breakout of best and worst performers also omits those that ended the year trading below $1 a share.

The stock that came in No. 6, with a 184 percent return? Kudos to WellCare Health Plans, which was inched out of the top five by the 193 percent return posted by Nicholas Financial. A year ago, both were among our five worst stocks.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at jharrington@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8242.

2009 local stock performances

Best

1. Aerosonic Corp. (AIM), closing price: $4.44, up 553 percent

2. Sypris Solutions (SYPR), closing price: $2.82, up 348 percent

3. Cryo-Cell International Inc. (CCEL.OB), closing price: $1.78, up 324 percent

4. Walter Energy Inc. (WLT), closing price: $75.31, up 318 percent

5. Nicholas Financial (NICK), closing price: $6.89, up 193 percent

Worst

1. Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (OMEX), closing price: $1.41, down

56 percent

2. Utek Corp. (UTK), closing price: $4.25, down 52 percent

3. First Community Bank Corp. of America (FCFL), closing price: $2.41, down 49 percent

4. Brown & Brown Inc. (BRO), closing price: $17.97, down 14 percent

5. Flanders Corp. (FLDR), closing price: $4.46, down 5 percent

Coming Sunday: Comprehensive listing of 2009 year-end stocks

For many Tampa Bay area stocks, 2009 was banner year 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains

    Banking

    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  2. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  4. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]
  5. Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

    Banking

    CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

    Joe Chillura, CEO of USAmeribank, shown inside a branch in Ybor City in this file photo.
[KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times]