Author: Hailey Waller (page 1 of 2)

Omega Healthcare bumps CEO Pickett’s bonus up 25 percent after strong earnings

OmegaHUNT VALLEY, MD — Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. paid Chief Executive Officer Taylor Pickett $6.7 million in compensation in 2016, up from $6 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pickett, 55, has led Omega since 2001.

His 2016 bonus of $1.4 million increased by 25.3 percent from last year. His total cash bonus for the year includes his bonus of $360,000 and his non-equity incentive plan compensation of $1.1 million, which increased 33.3 percent from the previous year.

Pickett was given stock awards of $4.5 million, up 8.5 percent from 2015. He made $2.5 million in vested stock awards based on the Dec. 31 closing price of $31.  

Shares of Omega were trading flat Tuesday afternoon around $34 a share.

In February, Omega reported an earnings increase that exceeded analyst expectations of 48 cents per share by 31.3 percent.

The real estate investor’s fourth-quarter earnings reached $129.9 million, or 63 cents per share, a 104 percent increase from the same quarter one year prior.

The company’s funds from operations, a measure of income typical of REITs, reached $171.5 million, or $84 cents. That increased 34.6 percent from last year.

Yearly earnings were $383.4 million, or $1.90 per share, up 64.3 percent from last year.

Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Omega is a real estate investment firm that invests predominantly in nursing homes.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Nuclear provider Centrus CEO Poneman’s compensation decreases 26 percent

imgresBETHESDA, MD —  Nuclear power provider Centrus Energy paid Chief Executive Officer Daniel Poneman $1.82 million in compensation in 2016, down from $2.48 million in 2015,  according to a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Poneman’s base salary increased 23 percent between the two years. The 26 percent decrease in total compensation primarily came from $867,000 in options awards and a $625,000 bonus in fiscal 2015.

The former U.S. Secretary of Energy, Poneman, 61,  holds stock options worth another $891,000 based on Wednesday’s closing price of $5.94, down 0.5 percent. The exercise price for the 150,000 shares is $4.31, and the options expire in 2025.

Poneman started as CEO at Centrus in March 2015. According to the company’s most recent proxy statement, his initial base salary is $750,000 per year, and he is eligible for an annual bonus of a minimum 100 percent and maximum of 150 percent of his base salary.

From 2009 to 2014,  Poneman served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy. He also served as the chief operating officer of the Department of Energy and has dealt with cases ranging from Fukushima to Hurricane Sandy.

Centrus, formerly known as United States Enrichment Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2014 after determining it would be unable to pay $530 million in debt and $114 million in preferred stock held by two investors.

Under a restructuring plan approved by investors, the company issued common stock and new debt worth $240 million that will come due in 2019.

Centrus Energy closed Wednesday at $5.94, down 3 cents.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism

Energy company Argan’s fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates

argan_logoROCKVILLE, MD — Argan Inc. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 190 percent, beating analyst estimates, due to acquisitions and new construction.

The Rockville, Maryland-based company reported earnings of $1.29 a share, up from 45 cents a share the year before, beating analysts’ estimates by 48 cents a share.

The energy holding company filed financial results for its fiscal year and fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.

Quarterly revenues rose 78 percent to $206.8 million versus $116.4 million the previous year.

Revenues increased to an annual record $675 million, up 63 percent compared to the prior year, primarily due to the company’s Gemma Power Systems subsidiary ramping up work on four gas-fired power plants and completing two other power plants.

The company said the increase also reflects a full year of revenues from Atlantic Projects Co. and The Roberts Co., which were acquired in May and December 2015, respectively.

Incorporated in 1961, Argan designs and builds energy plants.

Shares of the company closed at $64.35 per share on Monday, up 0.6 percent. Argan trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker AGX.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism


MacroGenics CEO Koenig’s compensation declined 80 percent in 2016

imgresROCKVILLE, MD — The chief executive officer of MacroGenics made $783,000 in compensation in 2016 after making $3.9 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday.

CEO Scott Koenig’s base salary of $535,000 increased 3 percent from 2015. He was paid a bonus of $240,000 in 2016. He received no stock option awards in 2016 after receiving $3.1 million in stock option awards in 2015.

The clinical stage biopharmaceutical company has a market capitalization of $600 million and focuses on the development of treatments that use the immune system to fight cancer.

Shares closed Thursday at $17.21, down 1.5 percent. The 52-week range is $16.28 to $33.30.

MacroGenics’ stock price hit a five-year low of $15.82 on Feb. 26 of last year before rebounding to a 2016 high of $31.51 on Aug. 5.

In 2016, the company initiated a Phase 1 study of its own anti-PD-1 antibody and also showed that its autoimmune-based DART molecule achieved the anticipated biological effects in a Phase 1 study.

Koenig, 64, said on the company’s fourth quarter conference call on Feb. 28, “I think it is a key takeaway for the investment community today that each of our proprietary oncology programs in the clinic has shown initial evidence of anti-tumor activity. Clearly, this is very encouraging.”

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism


Medifast chief marketing officer Kagen resigns

imgresOWINGS MILLS, MD — Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brian Kagen of Medifast, Inc. is resigning, effective on the close of business on April 20.

“The company thanks Mr. Kagen for his service since June 2011 and wishes him well as he leaves to pursue other professional opportunities,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 24.

Kagen joined Medifast in June 2011 as executive vice president, marketing, sales and business development.

In August 2012, he was appointed to the position of executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He oversaw all marketing across the organization, driving day-to-day execution and initiating long-term plans to build awareness, drive revenue and profit growth all while working to expand the Medifast brand.

On Jan. 21, Mike MacDonald, chairman and CEO at Medifast, discussed the business of weight loss and what separates his company from the pack on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

There are at least four main players in the weight loss space, according to Bloomberg.

“We’re trying to make products like macaroni and cheese, spaghetti—things that made you fat that you’d like to continue to eat,” MacDonald said.

He said that users of Medifast’s meal program will lose 2 to 5 pounds the first two weeks and 1 to 2 pounds the next two weeks.

The company’s shares closed Wednesday at $43.75, up 0.41 percent.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.


RLJ Entertainment reports lower fourth-quarter loss

rlje-logoSILVER SPRING, MD — RLJ Entertainment, a Maryland-based entertainment company that owns streaming services for African-Americans and fans of British programming, reported a fourth-quarter loss that was less than the quarterly loss in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The company reported a net loss of $4.8 million, or 90 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $37.7 million, or $8.87 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the company took a $30.3 million goodwill impairment charge.

Revenue for the quarter fell 12.8 percent to $28.4 million from $32.5 million in the same quarter of 2015.

In 2016, revenue for the company’s digital channel business increased 115.6 percent to $16.3 million. The services, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel, contributed $6.3 million of income from continuing operations for 2016 compared to a loss of $1.5 million in 2015.

Acorn TV launched in 2011 and has more than 370,000 subscribers. RLJ’s paying subscriber base increased by 125 percent from 203,000 to 457,000 in 2016. The company crossed half a million subscribers in February 2017.

“We see the one million subscriber target to be achievable in the next 24 months,” said Miguel Penella, chief executive officer.

The company’s chairman is Robert Johnson, the U.S.’s first black billionaire and the founder of Black Entertainment Television.

In other news, RLJ refinanced its debt in October 2016 and January 2017 and received net proceeds of $7.4 million. The company said it will expand one of its loans from $5 million to $13 million and extend the maturity date of the loan to June 30, 2019.

Part of the debt was issued with AMC Networks in 2012. AMC invested $65 million in RLJ last year in order to create a partnership aimed at reaching two niche audiences — African-American viewers and fans of British programming — with online video services.

AMC, best known for the U.S. cable channel that airs “The Walking Dead,” also operates BBC America through a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and owns WE tv, a network popular with black viewers.

RLJ also cited increased earnings from its affiliate Agatha Christie Ltd. ACL manages the media and literary rights to British crime author Christie’s works. RLJ owns 64 percent of the company.

The Guardian valued ACL at $125 million in 2010. The bestselling author of all time, according to Guinness World Records, Christie’s work has produced a huge fortune since her death in 1976, and her books continue to fill shelves around the world, particularly those featuring detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie’s “The Mousetrap” is the longest-running stage play in the world and a fixture in London’s West End since 1952.

Christie’s family owns the other 36 percent of ACL.

Shares of RLJ were trading at $2.44, up 1 cent, in midday trading on Thursday.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism


Sucampo shares rise 13 percent after earnings beat analyst expectations

imgresROCKVILLE, MD — Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose around 13 percent Wednesday after the constipation drugmaker released full year 2016 earnings that beat analyst expectations.

Sucampo reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per diluted share of 68 cents on revenue of $73 million, beating analyst estimates of 43 cents on revenue of $66 million.

For the full year 2016, Sucampo reported year-over-year total revenue growth of 50 percent to $230 million.  Product sales revenue increased to $129 million, representing 94 percent year-over-year growth.

Sucampo’s full-year 2017 guidance forecasts revenue of $220 million to $230 million, adjusted net income of $80 million to $90 million, adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.35 to $1.50 and adjusted Ebitda of $145 million to $155 million.

Mylan, maker of the EpiPen, owns the rights to Sucampo’s constipation drug in Japan. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016 included a one-time milestone of $10 million related to the sale of the drug in Japan, versus a one-time sales milestones of $5 million in 2015.

Takeda, Japan’s largest pharma firm, owns the rights for the same drug, brand name Amitiza, in all global markets except Japan and China.

Rockville, Maryland-based Sucampo has three formulations of its flagship drug Amitiza, generic name lubiprostone, in Phase 2 trials.

The company has a fourth drug to treat an inherited form of colon cancer in Phase 3 trials. There are currently no approved treatments or products in late-stage development to treat this colon disorder, known as FAP.

In the 1980s, Sucampo’s founder, Dr. Ryuji Ueno, discovered the potential of a class of naturally occurring compounds called prostones to fight human diseases.

Sucampo acquired 44 percent of Japan’s R-Tech Ueno Ltd. for $276 million at a 49 percent premium in August 2015. RTU manufactures all of Sucampo’s drugs and is controlled by its founders, Sachiko Kuno and Ryuji Ueno, according to a March 2015 regulatory filing.

The company also announced two updates to its executive management team. Andrew Smith, chief financial officer, will be leaving Sucampo to move back to Europe with his family to pursue professional opportunities there. Peter Pfreundschuh will become Sucampo’s new CFO.  

Also, Jones “Woody” Bryan will become Sucampo’s new senior vice president of business development and licensing. Both changes will take effect on March 20.

Shares of Sucampo were trading around $12.65 Wednesday morning, up about 13 percent.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

DiamondRock Hospitality buys two resorts in Sedona for $97 million

imgresBETHESDA, MD — DiamondRock Hospitality Co., a lodging-focused Maryland corporation operating as a real estate investment trust, announced that it has acquired two resorts in Sedona for $97 million, according to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company upwardly revised its 2017 earnings guidance from 92 cents per share to 96 cents per share, reflecting an additional $7.5 million of expected earnings attributable to the acquisition.

DiamondRock’s primary business is to acquire, own and renovate full-service hotel properties. The company owns a portfolio of 28 hotels in the United States, consisting of over 9,600 rooms. Subsidiaries of the company’s partnership, DiamondRock Hospitality Limited Partnership, own the individual hotels.

The company’s most recent purchases, the 88-room L’Auberge and the adjacent 70-room Orchards Inn, include a combined 158 guest rooms, 5,000 square feet of meeting space, outdoor wedding venues and two restaurants.g72811mm01i002

Since 2015, the resorts have undergone $14 million in renovations, and DiamondRock plans to spend $5 million on renovations in the off-seasons over the next two years.

The company said it expects earnings driven by the labor productivity and lower food and beverage cost initiatives that it plans to implement to reach approximately $9.5 million over the next two to three years.

“This acquisition represents a rare opportunity to own two high-quality resort properties in a coveted, high barrier-to-entry resort market,” said Mark Brugger, president and chief executive officer of DiamondRock.

“While we believe the initial pricing of the deal is attractive, we have identified significant opportunities to increase profitability through the implementation of our well-proven asset management practices and thoughtful capital enhancements.”

The $97 million purchase price represents an 8 percent yield and 12.6 multiple on the resorts’ forecasted 2017 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The yield is calculated by dividing the hotels’ net operating income by the purchase price.

In May 2011, DiamondRock announced a $72.6 million purchase price for JW Marriott Denver.

In December 2014, DiamondRock bought the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for $149 million. 

Investor demand for luxury resorts has recovered from the 2008 real estate crash partly because of little new construction in the industry. The Sedona market is one of the highest-growth markets in the U.S., with no new hotel supply under development in the near-term.

DiamondRock trades on the the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “DRH.” Shares closed down 3 percent at $10.87 Tuesday with about 3.2 million shares trading hands. The company sees an average trading volume of 2.7 million shares.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Baltimore-based drug researcher InSilico raises $10 million to study aging through artificial intelligence

3160685588c34d12a50d14577ae26508BALTIMORE, MD— InSilico Medicine has raised $10 million from six investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

InSilico is in the business of collecting and analyzing genetic codes to make drug discoveries for aging and age-related diseases.  The company uses advances in molecular biology and big data analysis with computer modeling and simulation.

The bioinformatics company has reported revenues of less than $1 million. The company is located at the Emerging Technology Centers at the Johns Hopkins University Eastern campus in Baltimore.

The date of the first sale occurred on Dec. 10, and each investor contributed at least $25,000.

InSilico pursues internal drug programs in cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue due to aging) and provides services to pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies.

On Feb. 3 the company announced that it started a research project with one of the world’s largest research and medical networks, South Korea-based Gachon University and Gil Medical Center.

The intent of the long-term collaboration is to develop artificially intelligent markers of aging and health status as well as interventions intended to slow down or even reverse the processes leading to the age-related loss of function.

Aging research is a controversial area because of failed claims and promises made by companies in the business of anti-aging.

“Our mission is to extend healthy human longevity,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, chief executive officer  of InSilico, in a Jan. 11 press release. “With over 20 academic publications published in 2015 and over 150 collaborators worldwide, we are very excited to present our results that will lead to faster and more effective diagnostics and cures in many age-related diseases,” 

A brief company video can be found here.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism


Southern consumers faced with biggest U.S. price increases since February 2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The cost of living in the U.S. increased a larger-than-forecast 0.6 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in December, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

Compared with the same month last year, costs paid by Americans for goods and services rose 2.5 percent.

Higher costs for gasoline, apparel and new cars indicate that inflation is gathering momentum. Core inflation increased 2.3 percent from January 2016.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday a comment made before the report by Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina: “CPI inflation has been steady in recent months amid rising energy prices.”

A 7.8 percent jump in the cost of gasoline accounted for about half of the increase in the January CPI.

“After the past couple years, the transitory nature of the dip in inflation due to the decline in energy prices has come to fruition,” Bullard said.

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In her testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that more interest-rate increases will be appropriate if inflation picks up and the labor market remains tight.

Wednesday’s report from the Labor Department showed energy costs increased 4 percent from a month earlier. Food prices rose 0.1 percent.

Energy prices in the South rose 3.2 percent and food prices rose 0.4 percent in January. The consumer price index for the South rose 0.5 percent over the month. These numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so the change may reflect seasonal influences.

The U.S.’s core CPI measure rose 0.3 percent this month, the most in five months. Bloomberg called for the core index to rise 0.2 percent from the previous month, and 2.1 percent from the prior year.

Over the last 12 months, the South’s core index, which excludes volatile food and fuel costs, increased 2.2 percent, reflecting price increases for shelter and medical care.

The CPI is the broadest of three price gauges from the Labor Department because it includes all goods and services, including prices consumers pay for medical visits, airline fares, movie tickets and rents. The other two measures are import costs and producer prices.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

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