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Business briefs: Tech Data on ‘Mad Money,’ Lucky’s in Clearwater and more

Margie Manning

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Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data, was Jim Cramer's guest on CBNC's Mad Money on Dec. 10. (photo courtesy of Tech Data)

Florida’s largest company, Clearwater-based IT distributor Tech Data Corp., was in the national spotlight Monday, as Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, interviewed CEO Rich Hume.

Cramer described Tech Data as “the supermarket of technology” and spoke glowingly about the company’s recent quarterly revenue and earnings gains as well as its strong cash flow.

Tech Data’s balance sheet is in good shape, after paying down debt from its $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet’s Technology Solutions business ahead of schedule, Hume said. The company is using some of its cash for a $200 million stock buyback but Hume wouldn’t rule out another deal.

“When we look into the future we’re very interested in higher value technology right now. There’s always opportunities. We always have interest in engaging and looking for the right alignment with our business,” Hume said.

Watch the full CNBC interview here:

Funding

Proof Network Ventures Inc. in Tampa has raised $900,000 in an ongoing $1.5 million funding round.

The company, which was formed earlier this year, issued debt and options to 13 investors, according to a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing did not name the investors or say how the money would be used. A call to CEO Alex Miningham  for comment was pending return.

Proof Network Ventures is a technology product development company in the global beverage alcohol industry, according to LinkedIn.

HCI’s property holdings

HCI Group Inc., a Tampa-based insurance firm with operations in real estate and technology, owns the property that is the site of a new Lucky’s Market in Clearwater.

HCI (NYSE: HCI) disclosed that its Greenleaf Capital subsidiary owns the property at 2170 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater — a former Albertson’s store — and dozens of other properties in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lake, Marion and Brevard counties, in a Dec. 6 regulatory filing. It’s the first time HCI has publicly provided a detailed list of Greenleaf Capital’s holdings.

The properties are being used as collateral for a $65 million credit facility from Fifth Third Bank.

Any money HCI draws from the facility would be repaid at 4.25 percent at today’s rates, James Harmsworth, HCI’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts last month.

“The great advantage of this type of facility is that we don’t pay for it if we don’t use it. And so this is a very efficient way to have access to an additional source of capital should any opportunity arise,” Harmsworth said.

The Clearwater site will be anchored by Lucky’s and is being redeveloped, according to Retail Solutions Advisors, which is handling leasing.

HCI earlier put one of its properties up for sale. HCI is selling the 9.5-acre waterfront parcel on John’s Pass in Treasure Island for $40 million.

Hiring plans

The hiring outlook for the first quarter of 2019 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro is the third best in the United States, according to ManpowerGroup.

About one-third, or 33 percent, of the local employers who responded to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey said they planned to add staff between January and March. Two-percent said they plan to cut payrolls, while 65 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels.

For the coming quarter, job prospects locally appear best in construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and other services. Hiring is expected to remain unchanged in government, the survey found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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