Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trailer Bridge Faces Pressure to Refinance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trailer Bridge Faces Pressure to Refinance

Article excerpt

Byline: mark basch

Trailer Bridge Inc. reported a second-quarter net loss of $3.6 million late on Friday, Aug. 12. But that wasn't the most interesting item in its quarterly report.

The Jacksonville-based marine and truck freight company also indicated that it is facing pressure to refinance $82.5 million in public notes (a form of debt) that are due to be paid off in November.

"In the event the company is not able to refinance the notes, the company's finances and ability to operate would be severely impaired and the company could be required to seek protection under federal bankruptcy laws," Trailer Bridge said in a news release.

How serious is it? It's hard to say, because the company isn't talking. Trailer Bridge did not have a conference call, which publicly traded companies normally do after issuing quarterly financial reports. According to a research note by Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin, Trailer Bridge had a conference call after the first-quarter report but didn't take questions.

CEO Ivy Barton Suter did not respond to two voice mail messages last week.

Trailer Bridge said in the news release that it is exploring a number of options to refinance the notes, including a possible sale of more stock "that might result in a change of control." Currently, the family of Trailer Bridge founder Malcolm McLean is the largest shareholder with about 43 percent of the stock.

The report didn't have a big impact on Trailer Bridge's stock, which closed at $1.30 on Aug. 12 before the announcement. The stock traded slightly lower than that early last week before falling to a new low of 94 cents during Thursday's overall market sell-off.

Larkin maintains a "hold" rating on the stock and said in his note that he likely won't review the rating until the debt situation is resolved.

"Until that time, we believe there is too much uncertainty regarding the company's capital structure and borrowing costs, and we believe we have too little visibility into the company's operations (in light of the lack of analyst conference calls and communication with the Street), in order to recommend the company's shares," he said.

PARKERVISION PATENTS

ParkerVision Inc. has been developing its wireless radio technology for more than a decade without much success in finding manufacturers that want to buy the technology. So the company has lost money in every year of its existence.

But during the Jacksonville-based company's quarterly conference call last week, CEO Jeff Parker offered a new theory why manufacturers aren't buying the technology: They could be stealing it.

ParkerVision filed a patent infringement lawsuit last month against Qualcomm Inc., alleging that the San Diego-based company has used the technology in some of its products. …

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