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Moody’s downgrades credit rating for Anchor Glass

Anchor Glass Container Corp. continues to struggle to restore key metrics, according to Moody’s Investor’s Service. The credit agency downgraded the corporate family rating of the Tampa-based glass packaging manufacturer to B3 from B2. Both are highly speculative, non-investment grade ratings. In its Oct. 30 report, Moody’s cited several extraordinary events that impacted Anchor, including an explosion, a lightning strike and a fire at its facilities, and the loss of a major brand from a customer that converted to plastic. The ratings outlook is negative, reflecting uncertainty around free cash generation, Moody’s said. Anchor, a portfolio company of CVC Capital Partners, operates six manufacturing plants in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, New York and Oklahoma and generated about $569 million in revenue for the 12 months ended June 30, 2019, Moody’s said.

ConnectWise buys two companies

ConnectWise, a managed IT services provider and software developer in Tampa, said it will provide more value for technology solution providers after completing several deals. ConnectWise bought Continuum and ITBoost and has a new strategic partnership with Webinfinity, a news release said. No financial terms were disclosed but the deals "put more problem-solving resources, tools for efficiency, and fuel for growth in the hands of partners while transforming ConnectWise into a technology and services platform for the entire technology channel," the news release said. ConnectWise also said it would launch an initiative calling for the entire industry to fight back against cyber security threats.

Storms push UPC Insurance into the red

United Insurance Holdings (Nasdaq: UIHC), a St. Petersburg-based property and casualty insurer, reported a net loss of $28.3 million, or 66 cents a  share, for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $11.7 million, or 27 cents a share, for Q3 2018. The company's revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $207.6 million, a 10.6 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. About $40 million in losses were attributed to Hurricane Dorien and tropical storms Imelda and Barry.

Labor shortage boosts Kforce results

Kforce (Nasdaq: KFRC), a Tampa staffing firm, reported net income of $14.9 million, or 64 cents a share, on revenue of $345.6 million for the three months ended Sept. 30. Revenue increased 5.8 percent from Q3 2018, although net income dropped from $16.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Tech Flex, the company's largest business, benefitted from longer assignment durations, believed to be related to the acute labor shortage, especially with highly-skilled technology resources, David Dunkel, chairman and CEO, said in a news release.

Pinellas man pleads guilty to trafficking in bogus sports jerseys

A 74-year-old Clearwater man faces up to 10 years in federal prison, after pleading guilty to trafficking in counterfeit sports jerseys. Thomas Walker owned and operated “Tim’s Sports Cards Plus,” operated from a booth at the Oldsmar Flea Market, where he sold numerous sports jerseys bearing the counterfeit trademarks of the NFL, NHL and MLB, according to a statement from the U.S.Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. In January 2017, federal law enforcement agents seized 699 jerseys bearing counterfeit NFL marks at the flea market and seized over 1,500 additional counterfeit jerseys from all three purported sports leagues at  Walker's home. Walker admitted that he had purchased the counterfeit jerseys from a supplier in China, prosecutors said.

Microsoft, USF create Medical School of Innovation

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at University of South Florida in Tampa and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) have teamed to create the first-ever Medical School of Innovation. The relationship is based on the the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute nearing completion in downtown Tampa. The initiative includes ‘outside the box’ plans for using newer, faster, leaner technology from both the literal hardware/software perspective, as well as from a construction and physical space perspective, a news release said. Among the Microsoft hardware being used within the new building are several Surface Studios, Teams in every collaboration space and classroom, and Surface Hubs on mobile stands throughout each floor and learning environment.

Tech Data buys software and cloud services firm

Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), an IT distributor in Clearwater, agreed to buy DLT Solutions, a software and cloud solutions company. The purchase price was not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter of Tech Data’s fiscal year. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, DLT is a government solutions aggregator that accelerates public sector growth for business partners that serve the federal, state and local markets. Tech Data is the largest company headquartered in the Tampa-St. Pete area based on revenue.

WellCare profit swells in Q3

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG), a Tampa-based managed healthcare provider, reported net income of $241 million, or $4.74 a share, on revenue of $7.1 billion for the third quarter of 2019. Revenue was up 41 percent from the year-ago period and net income increased 85 percent. The jump in revenue largely was due to an acquisition last year, while the increase in net income "primarily reflects growth across all business segments and continued operational execution," WellCare said in a news release. The company, with 6.35 million total members at Sept. 30, has agreed to be acquired by Centene (NYSE: CNC) in 2020.

Calling all St. Pete artists: Dome Industrial Area markers

The City of St. Petersburg, The St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District and the Deuces Live are seeking artists/teams local to St. Petersburg to submit proposals to refinish the surface of each of the six Dome Industrial area markers.  The Dome Industrial Park, which includes the Warehouse Arts District, Tropicana Field area and Deuces Live historic main street was designated in 1999.  The art project is meant to "return these structures as part of a neighborhood fabric." The current cement structure signage is currently being removed by the City of St. Petersburg. The structures were "initially erected as homage to an industrial development, this art project seeks to return these structures to the neighborhood and the people who continue to reside within its boundaries." The budget for the large marker is $11,500 and each of the small markers is $4,500, which should include all costs for the final installed work. See the full project details here: Dome Industrial Area Markers Project Deadline: November 1, 2019 Submit via email: info@whereartismade.com

Valley Bank supports Feeding Tampa Bay

Valley Bank has invested $1.6 billion in the communities the bank serves, including providing a grant to Feeding Tampa Bay, which provides healthy meals and snacks to 700,000 central Florida residents. The bank's grant allowed Feeding Tampa Bay to purchase “Tater Tot,” a newly refurbished food truck that will deliver nutritious food to children within a 10-county footprint. The grant was highlighted in the 2018 corporate social report from Valley Bank, a regional bank with $32.5 billion in assets and the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp (Nasdaq: VLY), headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey.

Rubio moves to block federal pension investments in China

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) plans to introduce legislation to block U.S. government pension funds from investing in Chinese stocks. Rubio is concerned about plans by a federal board that oversees billions of dollars of retirement savings for federal employees and the military, according to Reuters. That board said it would begin tracking a stock index that includes specific companies that Rubio says help the Chinese government's military activities, espionage, and human rights abuses. Although the board next month will reconsider its decision to track the index, Rubio said it was not clear that the board would act in the best interests of the United States.

MarineMax sales up, profit down

MarineMax Inc. (NYSE: HZO), a Clearwater recreational boat and yacht retailer, reported $40 million in net income, or $1.57 a share, on revenue of $1.24 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Revenue was up 5 percent but net income fell 8.5 percent compared to the prior fiscal year. Costs related to the company's store optimization plan and Hurricane Dorian cut into profit, but were partially offset by a final payment with the Deepwater Horizon settlement program, a news release said. Although the boating industry is "challenged," the company benefitted from the acquisition early in the fourth quarter of Fraser Yachts, a brokerage and service business, said Brett McGill, CEO. He said MarineMax would use the upcoming boat show season to bring inventory into line with industry trends.

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