Author: Jonathan Ponciano

Chesapeake Lodging CEO Francis compensation falls 6 percent

Chesapeake LodgingANNAPOLIS, MD – James Francis, president and chief executive of Chesapeake Lodging Trust, saw his compensation fall to $4.5 million in 2016, compared to $4.8 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The drop in total compensation reflected a 50.8 percent decrease in the chief executive’s compensation from Chesapeake’s non-equity incentive plan. The incentives totaled only $323,000 for Francis in 2016, compared to $657,000 in 2015.

The cash bonus incentives are awarded to executives based on their achievement of pre-determined performance goals.

Chesapeake reported annual income of $76.7 million in 2016, but despite net income growth of 13.6 percent last year, the company performed below analysts’ income expectations in its three most recent quarters.

As a result, Chief Financial Officer Douglas Vicari and Chief Operating Officer D. Rick Adams also saw their total compensation fall in 2016, each by 4.8 percent. The executives each made $2.0 million in total compensation for the year.

Meanwhile, the company’s chief accounting officer, Graham Wootten, saw a slight uptick in his total compensation, which was slightly above $1.2 million for the year. His decrease in incentive-related compensation was offset by a $50,000 increase in share awards for the year.

Annapolis-based Chesapeake Lodging Trust is a self-advised real estate investment trust focused on investments in upscale hotels and select-service premium hotels. The company completed its initial public offering in January 2010 and now owns 22 properties across the nation.

Chesapeake Lodging will hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 17 at the Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill, its sole D.C. property. The company will release first-quarter earnings results on April 25.

Shares of Chesapeake Lodging’s stock closed at $23.22 on Friday, falling 2.0 percent on the day of the filing.

The filing 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

Cerecor losses impact new CEO’s compensation package

CerecorBALTIMORE, MD – The chief executive of Baltimore-based Cerecor Inc. received a compensation package in 2016 worth 60 percent more than his predecessor’s compensation package in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dr. Uli Hacksell’s total compensation package for 2016 was valued at $1.7 million, compared to the $1.1 million package received by Cerecor’s former President and Chief Executive Blake Paterson in 2015.

Hacksell’s package, however, included a stock option award that the company valued at $1.2 million on the first day of Hacksell’s employment with Cerecor, which was Jan. 1, 2016.

The award included the option to purchase 360,459 shares at $3.35 each, but Cerecor’s stock price has since fallen to 68 cents per share – nullifying the option’s original value.

According to the filing, none of the three named executive officers received a bonus relative to their achievement goals for the 2016 fiscal year.

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Cerecor said in its annual report released March 14 that the company will require additional capital to continue to fund its short-term operations and finance the advancement of its product candidates.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the company had $5.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $4.3 million in current liabilities.

The company also announced on Nov. 29 that one of its anti-depressive drugs failed to produce statistically significant results as part of its phase 2 clinical trials.

Meanwhile, Hacksell’s base salary in 2016 totaled $500,000, up 26.5 percent from Paterson’s base salary of $395,208 in 2015.

Ronald Marcus, Cerecor’s chief medical officer, received a total compensation package valued at $581,125, an increase of 15.2 percent from 2015. The only other executive named in the filing, Chief Business Officer John Kaiser, saw his compensation package fall 9.6 percent to $450,411 for the year.

Cerecor’s annual shareholder meeting will be held on May 12 at law firm Cooley LLP’s New York City offices. Shareholders will vote on the election of two board members, as well as to ratify the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as Cerecor’s accounting firm for the 2017 fiscal year.

Cerecor reported a net income loss per share of 18 cents in the fourth quarter – for a total net loss of $1.6 million in the quarter.

The proxy filing 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.

OpGen misses expectations with $4.8 million fourth-quarter loss

OpGenGAITHERSBURG, MD – OpGen Inc. reported a net income loss of $4.8 million in its fourth quarter following a 35 percent drop in revenue from product sales, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

OpGen’s fourth-quarter loss was in line with its performance in the same period a year ago but still greater than analysts expected. It lost 21 cents per share rather than the predicted loss of 20 cents per share.

Overall revenue for the quarter was $1.0 million, down 24.3 percent from $1.3 million in 2015. Revenue from product sales took the largest hit in the quarter, falling to $818,000 from $1.3 million.

“In 2016 our investments in genomics and informatics for infectious disease management issues caused by multi-drug resistant organisms began to pay off,” said OpGen’s Chief Executive Officer Evan Jones.

Jones said the company expects its Acuitas brand of rapid-diagnostic products to move past the development phase within the coming months, aiming to make the products available for external research use in the second half of 2017.

Research and development costs were the firm’s largest expense in the quarter. They totaled $2.3 million, up from $2.1 million a year ago.

OpGen went public in 2015 at $6 per share and raised $17 million. According to the Thursday filing, OpGen raised an additional $4.7 million in the fourth quarter. Its assets as of Dec. 31 totaled $9.0 million.

Shares of OpGen stock closed at $1.07 on Friday – down 8.5 percent since the filing’s release on Thursday.

Gaithersburg-based OpGen announced in November that it had entered into a research collaboration with a subsidiary of New Jersey-based pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. Inc. to develop rapid diagnostics and information technology products that aim to combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Analysts are expecting OpGen to start moving closer to profitability in the first quarter; current estimates predict a loss of 15 cents per share for the period. The company, however, did not provide 2017 guidance.

The filing 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

D.C.-area tech startup Weather Analytics raises $17 million

Weather AnalyticsSILVER SPRING, MD – Weather Analytics LLC, a Washington D.C.-area technology startup, has raised $17 million in a private equity offering, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Form D, signed by Weather Analytics President Chris Skarinka, disclosed that the $17 million offering’s first sale occurred on Feb. 22 and garnered funds from two investors, who received equity in the form of both common shares and Series B preferred shares.

Silver Spring-based Weather Analytics mines, stores and analyzes atmospheric data to build predictive weathers models, which it then uses to create risk-assessment products it markets to private-sector clients, as well as the U.S. government.

In April 2013 Weather Analytics announced an investment partnership with the non-profit venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, which was chartered by the CIA in 1999.

Based on previous regulatory filings, Weather Analytics has raised at least $33 million since it was founded in 2012 by Chief Executive Bill Pardue, a former president and chief executive of online information provider LexisNexis.

The company did not disclose revenue, nor did it say what it intends to do with proceeds from the offering, but it did disclose that none of the money raised will go toward executive payments.

The company claimed a Rule 506 (b) exemption for the filing. Companies relying on the Rule 506 exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

The filing 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

Choice Hotels hires Dragisich as its CFO

Choice HotelsROCKVILLE, MD -– Choice Hotels International Inc. announced Friday that Dominic Dragisich will begin serving as the company’s chief financial officer on Monday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Rockville, Maryland-based hospitality holding corporation also disclosed Dragisich’s compensation package, which will include an annual base salary of $400,000, a short-term incentive plan worth 70 percent of his base salary and an annual equity grant award under the company’s long-term incentive program valued at 150 percent of his annual salary.

“Dominic’s focus on implementing a best-in-class culture of operational excellence and engagement will help drive our continued expansion,” said Steve Joyce, chief executive officer of Choice Hotels, in a statement. “He is a leader who has successfully driven results in other positions and will be a great contributor to help Choice achieve our goals.”

Dragisich will also receive a one-time award of restricted stock valued at $400,000, which will vest in full in three years.

Scott Oaksmith, who has been leading the finance team at Choice Hotels prior to Dragisich’s appointment, will continue to serve as the company’s chief accounting officer and senior vice president of finance.

Dragisich previously served as the chief financial officer of Herndon, Virginia-based telecommunications firm XO Communications.

Choice Hotels reported yearly revenue of $924.6 million in 2016, up 7.5 percent from 2015, and a 6 percent increase in operating income for the year, to $238.9 million, according to a regulatory filing dated Feb. 27. It reported assets totaling $852.5 million, as of Dec. 31, 2016.

The company owns the hotel and motel brands Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Cambria Hotel & Suites and Mainstay Suites, among others.

The filing can be found here.

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

Online education platform 2U Inc. bests analyst earnings projections

2ULANHAM, MD – 2U Inc., a Washington, D.C.-area online education company, reported a 33 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue following an increase in online program offerings, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, based out of Prince George County, reported adjusted net income of $2.0 million, or 4 cents per share, in the quarter, compared to an adjusted net loss of $100,000 in the same period a year ago. The figure beat analyst estimates of 3 cents per share.

“Both the fourth quarter and full-year 2016 showed significant year-over-year revenue growth as well as continued margin progress in each of our earnings measures,” said Chip Paucek, 2U’s chief executive and co-founder. “2016 was the year that the first of our three earnings measures turned positive.”

2U’s fourth-quarter revenue totaled $57.4 million, up from $43.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The company said its courses enrolled nearly 22,000 students across its clients’ programs in the fourth quarter, up 31 percent year over year and 13 percent on a quarterly basis.

The company also issued earnings guidance for the first quarter and its fiscal-year 2017. 2U said it expects revenues to total between $267.6 million and $269.8 million in 2017, which falls on the lower end of analyst expectations. 2U’s first-quarter revenue expectations are in line with average analyst estimates of $63.95 million.

Shares of 2U stock have fallen 1 percent since the Thursday announcement to $36.48.

Founded in 2008, 2U provides an integrated online platform for schools to acquire, educate and support students globally. The company’s current roster of university partners includes Georgetown University, New York University, Simmons College, Yale University, the University of Southern California and UNC-Chapel Hill, among others.

The filing 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

Bethesda real estate company raises $4.5 million for Northern Virginia office building

MDBW-logo-draft-yellow-transbgBETHESDA, MD – A Bethesda, Maryland-based real estate investment and development company has raised $4.5 million from 16 investors in a private stock offering, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated Feb. 9.

Dulles Creek Holdings LLC filed the Form D, signed by Robert Merrick Pinkard, on Feb. 9. Pinkard, founder and principal at Bethesda’s The Pinkard Group, is listed as Dulles Creek’s principal along with Peter Colten Kleeblatt, who also serves as principal at The Pinkard Group.

The filing coincides with The Pinkard Group’s recent acquisition of Dulles Creek, a Class A office building in the Dulles Corner submarket of Herndon, Virginia. The acquisition was announced on Feb. 5 – just days before the offering’s filing date.

The Pinkard Group is currently investing on behalf of its Pinkard Fund II, which is focused on investment opportunities in the greater Washington D.C. area. The Thursday filing from Dulles Creek Holdings lists PF II Dulles Creek as its managing member.

“The Pinkard Group is excited to kick off Pinkard Fund II with the acquisition of Dulles Creek” Kleeblatt said in a statement released to citybizlist.com. “This is our fourth office acquisition in Northern Virginia, and we are big believers in this dynamic market going forward.”

The Pinkard Group did not disclose how much it paid for Dulles Creek, but said it plans to strategically invest in the office property “in order to enhance the building’s superior features and attract additional high quality tenants from Herndon’s diversified tenant base.”

The first iteration of the Pinkard Fund comprised similar office building acquisitions in Northern Virginia beginning in 2014, including the November 2014 acquisition of Dulles Metro Center in Herndon – less than one mile away from the newly acquired Dulles Creek office building.

The date of the offering’s first sale is listed as Jan. 19, and the minimum investment accepted from any outside investor is $100,000.

Companies relying on a Reg D exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file what’s known as a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

The form 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

Shore Bancshares beats analyst’s fourth-quarter expectations

PrintEASTON, MD – Shore Bancshares Inc. beat analyst estimates in the fourth quarter, with net income rising 13.6 percent due to solid loan and deposit growth following the holding company’s consolidation of two Maryland banks.

The Easton, Maryland-based company reported fourth-quarter net income of $2.5 million, or 20 cents per share, compared to net income of $2.2 million, or 17 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated Jan. 25.

The bank was expected to report earnings of 19 cents per share.

“2016 proved to be a great year for Shore Bancshares Inc. and its family of companies,” said Lloyd L. “Scott” Beatty Jr., chief executive of Shore Bancshares, in a statement. “During the year, we consolidated our bank subsidiaries, CNB and The Talbot Bank, and rebranded the merged bank as Shore United Bank.”

Net interest income climbed 8.0 percent to $10.0 million in the fourth quarter, beating analyst estimates of $9.83 million.

The holding company’s loan portfolio totaled $866.4 million at the end of the quarter, up 10.3 percent from the same period one year ago.

On Jan. 10, Shore Bancshares announced that it purchased three bank branches on the western shore of Maryland. Upon completion of the transaction, the holding company is expected to have approximately $1.35 billion in total assets.

“These new branches will allow us to expand our market, generate significant net interest income and diversify our loan portfolio,” Beatty said. “We feel strongly that our new name will travel well as we expand our footprint.”

Shares of the holding company’s stock increased 9 cents on Wednesday for a closing price of $15.98. The stock was trading at the same price as of Thursday afternoon.

The filling 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

Community Bank of the Chesapeake beats fourth-quarter expectations

Community Bank of Tri-County is updating its name and logo as result of its growth into Virginia. The company will be known as Community Bank of the Chesapeake as of October 18, 2013. (PRNewsFoto/Community Bank of Tri-County)WALDORF, MD — The holding company for Waldorf’s Community Bank of the Chesapeake reported a 33 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profit on Friday after significant loan growth and streamlined attempts to control the growth of expenses.

The Community Financial Corp. reported fourth-quarter net income of $2.0 million, or 44 cents per share, which is up $494,000, or 11 cents per share, from income in the same period one year ago. Results beat analyst expectations of 43 cents per share in the fourth quarter.

“Our 2016 loan growth of $170.3 million, or 18.7 percent, to $1.1 billion should position the company to further increase operating leverage during 2017,” said William J. Pasenelli, the holding company’s chief executive, in a statement.

Overall revenue also exceeded analyst expectations in the fourth quarter. Community Financial’s total interest and dividend income totaled $12.6 million, compared to analyst estimates of $11.2 million.

Meanwhile, the holding company said it remained focused during 2016 on its initiative to control the growth of expenses by streamlining internal processes and reviewing vendor relationships for its Maryland-based bank. Non-interest expense fell 3.2 percent to $7.3 million in the fourth quarter, from $7.6 million in the same period a year ago.

Bank of the Chesapeake is a full-service commercial bank with assets over $1.3 billion. The bank operates through its 12 banking centers and five commercial lending centers across Maryland and Virginia. Its holding company has offices in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington.

Shares for the holding company increased on Friday by 0.44 percent, closing at $30, up 31 percent from one year ago.

The filing 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

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