Wayne Anderson describes himself as a risk-taker.
In the 25 years he’s been in St. Petersburg, he’s bought, built and sold companies with interests varying from natural gas and oil to marijuana and blockchain.
Now, he’s preparing Sylios Corp., a St. Petersburg-based holding company where he is chairman and president, to become a fully reporting company registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, with complete financial disclosures.
Sylios has been trading on the over-the-counter market under the ticker UNGS. It’s a penny stock, with prices ranging from under one cent a share to four cents a share in the past year.
Becoming a fully reporting company will bring better investors and cheaper capital, Anderson said. It’s an expensive move, costing about $100,000 annually, but there’s a return for that expense.
“We can attract much better institutional investors as a fully reporting company, due to transparency, versus getting capital when there’s no transparency,” Anderson said. “Even though we were reporting on the OTC markets, it’s extremely tough for companies on the OTC markets to get cheaper capital.”
Anderson runs Sylios from a small office at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center in downtown St. Petersburg. The company has minimal revenue and has incurred losses totaling $20.5 million from when it was formed in March 2008 through December 2018 — factors that raise doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern, the company said in its April 11 filing with the SEC.
After several iterations, Sylios has a formula that Anderson believes will be a success. It’s gone from an operating company with several subsidiaries to a holding company that maintains equity interests in the former subsidiaries it spun off as separate firms.
“We’ll continue to do this as long as it’s working,” Anderson said. “For the size of company we are, trading on the OTC markets, even though we’re now fully reporting, I think we’ve accomplished a lot and still are accomplishing a lot and we’re getting through corporate actions that people do not believe we can do — we’re getting them done.”
The company initially was called Adventure Energy Inc., then US Natural Gas Corp., and filed reports with the SEC until 2012.
“When we formed US Natural Gas Corp., we were doing an acquisition of a public company called Wilon Resources,” Anderson said. Wilon had natural gas wells in West Virginia. “We spent about two years building up the facilities in West Virginia. Natural gas at that time was $6 to $7 an MCF [a natural gas volume measurement]. Then the bottom fell out of natural gas … The price plummeted to about $1.80 an MCF and it stayed around the $2 level for a while. So we were losing money as we were pumping out gas. We finally had to shut down in 2012 and wait for a recovery, and it never happened.”
In 2014, Anderson saw the cannabis sector developing, and he formed an operating subsidiary, The Greater Cannabis Company, with an online store for medical and recreational marijuana products. The company was an operating subsidiary of Sylios until it was spun off in March 2017. Now based in Baltimore and with new management, Greater Cannabis Company (OTC: GCAN) has switched its business model and now plans to develop and commercialize innovative delivery systems for marijuana, such as patches.
Another former Sylios subsidiary, AMDAQ Corp., focuses on blockchain technology. AMDAQ also was spun off as a separate firm in 2017. Anderson expects AMDAQ to file its own registration statement with the SEC and become publicly traded later this year.
US Natural Gas Corp KY remains a subsidiary, but Anderson is looking to spin that off later this year, then start looking for new businesses to bring under the Sylios umbrella.
He knows some are skeptical about the company’s model.
“When we spun off the Greater Cannabis Company, we heard nonstop it will never be approved by the SEC, it will never be approved by FINRA, the banking rules will block you left and right,” Anderson said. “We got through everything with ease. I think you just have to listen and just brush it off. If you believe in what you’re doing, just keep battling for it.”
He has become talented at finding break-out sectors.
“I think I am a good risk taker. Anybody getting into the cannabis sector four or five years ago, it was a risky investment. Blockchain had its hype. It’s died down dramatically and people can see a future in it,” Anderson said.
Anderson also is president and chairman of Global Technologies, a St. Petersburg-based company that acquires nascent technology and related innovations, inventions and IP assets to enhance their growth and development. Global Technologies is not affiliated with Sylios and is dormant for the time being, Anderson said.
He also is an investor in Around the Clock Partners, a hedge fund in St. Petersburg that is in the redemption phase as it closes down.