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VOL. 6 | NO. 44 | Saturday, October 26, 2013

Performance Ranges Widely at Local Companies

By Andy Meek

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Here’s a snapshot of the recent performance of some of Memphis’ publicly traded companies – businesses that cast a shadow far beyond the Memphis city limits in industries including finance, package delivery and bioscience.

(Noteworthy omissions to this list include FedEx Corp., International Paper Co. and AutoZone Inc., Memphis’ three publicly traded companies on this year’s Fortune 500 list, which are given a closer look elsewhere in this edition of The Daily News.)

First Horizon National Corp. (FHN)

(Memphis News File)

First Horizon is the parent company of the largest bank based in Tennessee – First Tennessee Bank. FHN also operates a capital markets unit, FTN Financial, that’s also based in Memphis. Earlier this month, an addition to its mortgage repurchase reserve caused First Horizon to report a third quarter loss of $107.5 million. Company chairman and CEO Bryan Jordan acknowledged the red ink but looked past it in a presentation to analysts, pointing out that First Tennessee has grabbed the top market share ranking in the state, the bank’s revenues and deposits were up during the quarter and the bank also is showing gains in consumer and commercial lending.

Fred’s Inc. (FRED)

Fred’s is a discount retailer with a little less than 700 stores across the Southeast that sells general merchandise, including items like snacks and pharmacy goods. At the end of August, the company said its fiscal second quarter profit fell because of a year-ago charge, but its sales and profits have been improving. For its quarter that ended Aug. 3, the company reported a profit of $3.3 million, down from $6.1 million in the year-ago period, which included a tax-related benefit. Revenue, however, was up 2 percent, and revenue from stores open at least a year was up 2.2 percent.


EdR is one of the largest owners, developers and operators of collegiate housing in the country. The company has locations in 24 states and owns or manages 70 communities with more than 39,000 beds. The company – which will report its next quarterly earnings Oct. 28 – reported at the end of July that its second-quarter funds from operations rose 21 percent year-over-year, up from $9.8 million in the second quarter of 2012 to $11.84 million during the second quarter of this year. Total revenues in the quarter were $41.98 million, up from $32.31 million in the same period last year.

GTx Inc. (GTXI)

GTx is a biopharmaceutical company working on drugs to treat cancer and other serious conditions. The company has experienced a bit of upheaval of late, with layoffs announced earlier this month that included the resignation of the company’s chief financial officer and pay cuts for its top three leaders. At the beginning of the year, the company’s market research had suggested peak U.S. sales for one of its drugs could be around $750 million, but the drug didn’t meet its goals in two late-stage clinical trials. That set the stage for the layoffs and the pay cuts that followed.

Verso Paper Corp. (VRS)

Verso makes coated paper and a variety of specialty paper products. In August, the company reported net sales for the quarter ended June 30 had dropped $34.9 million compared to a year ago, and the company posted an operating loss of $8.5 million for its second quarter, a loss of about $1 million less than the same quarter last year. Verso president and CEO David Peterson said that he expects price improvements for coated paper in the third quarter.

Wright Medical Group Inc. (WMGI)

Wright Medical Group Inc. is an orthopedic medical device company, which is moving its headquarters from Arlington into Memphis proper, investing $10.6 million into a new headquarters on Cherry Road in East Memphis. In August the company reported a second quarter adjusted loss per share from continuing operations of 13 cents, up from 2 cents per share a year ago. Net revenues from continuing operations were $60.6 million, up 17 percent from a year ago. Earlier this month Wright also announced it’s reached an agreement to buy the French company Biotech International for $75 million.

Mueller Industries Inc. (MLI)

Mueller makes copper tube and fittings, as well as aluminum, plastic and brass fittings used in commercial and residential construction. In July Mueller reported a second quarter profit of $25.5 million, up from $17.9 million during the same period in 2012. Net sales for the quarter were $582.3 million, down from $594.1 million one year earlier, a drop the company attributed to lower copper costs that affected the selling prices of the company’s products.


MAA is a real estate investment trust that focuses on the acquisition, selective development, redevelopment and management of multifamily homes. For its most recent quarter-end period of June 30, the company reported profit of $59.1 million, up from $28.2 million during the same period in 2012. Earlier this month, the company said it had completed a $2.17 billion acquisition of Colonial Properties Trust.

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