Around the State
Uniroyal Technology Corp. (Nasdaq-UTCI) bought Townsend Plastics, a Des Moines, Iowa, producer of cast acrylic rods and tubes. Earlier this year, Uniroyal, which makes and sells plastic and speciality chemicals, bought Lucite Super-Abrasion Resistant. Both acquisitions contribute to Uniroyal's most profitable segment, high performance plastics, in which fiscal 1998 sales are expected to be $130 million.
ST. PETERSBURG - First Central Bank has agreed to merge with Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial BancGroup. First Central, with assets of about $55 million, has one office. Colonial has assets of $6.5 billion and 181 offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
Restructuring at Danka Business Systems (NASDAQ-DANKY) will mean a slight gain in employees at its St. Petersburg headquarters, even though about 10 jobs there have been cut. The office gained workers from other divisions, offsetting the layoffs. Overall, the international company is cutting its 22,000 international work force by 3% as it integrates its office products, office imaging and outsourcing divisions.
Halkey-Roberts Corp., a manufacturer of inflatable life vest components, recalled a 1996 automatic inflator after complaints and findings that many that year performed slowly or not at all. As a precaution, the company is replacing all bobbins dated 1996. The vests can still be inflated manually.
TAMPA - Havatampa cigars will continue to be rolled at Tampa's nearly century-old cigar manufacturer, but the profits may soon go to Spain. Tabacalera of Madrid has an agreement to buy Havatampa, the second largest cigar manufacturer in the U.S.in terms of units and fourth largest in total sales. Havatampa's headquarters will remain in Tampa, and no layoffs are expected.
Chase Manhattan Bank plans to add 1,100 jobs to its Tampa credit card service division over the next three years. The bank plans an $18 million expansion, with total employment expected to exceed 2,500 by 2000.
Hillsborough County's largest speculative industrial development of the 1990s is going up in Tampa's Fairfield Commerce Center. Completion of the 328,800-square-foot Fairfield Distribution Center, a joint venture between Weeks Corp. of Atlanta and Thompson-Kirk Properties of Tampa, is expected by early 1998.
Two new Carnival cruise ships will begin sailing from Tampa in 1998. The M/S Tropicale will return to Florida from Alaska and begin cruises in April. In December 1998 a Fantasy class mega-ship will replace the smaller Celebration ship currently docked in Tampa.
By the end of 2001, Intermedia Communications (Nasdaq-VHIW) plans to more than double its Tampa office space and create at least 500 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $41,000. Intermedia, a telecommunications company, already employs 600 in Tampa and 835 statewide. It has a lease on two planned Sabel Park buildings, totaling 240,000 square feet.
Swissair, the national air carrier of Switzerland, has selected Paradigm Communications to handle its advertising and marketing for North America. Paradigm estimates Swissair's billings at $2.5 million annually.
Romac International (Nasdaq-ROMC), a Tampa-based national provider of staffing and consulting services, bought the Chicago firm Uni-Quality Systems Solutions. UQ specializes in information systems personnel.
At Food Lion
... the bottom line has yet to benefit from the $341 million acquisition last December of competitor Kash n' Karry, once based in Tampa. "They've made a lot of progress in many ways," says Sally Wallick, a retail analyst with Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore, "but from an earnings standpoint, it's progressed a little more slowly than anticipated. For (Food Lion's) first two quarters, Kash n' Karry cost them about a penny per share in earnings. From Wall Street's standpoint, the hope was that the acquisition would be neutral in those quarters, not a drag on it."
The biggest changes so far include closing Kash n' Karry's Tampa distribution center, which employed almost 400, and another turn of the revolving door that has been the CEO's office. Mike Byars, a 20-year veteran of Food Lion, took over as Kash n' Karry's chief operating officer in September, replacing Ron Dennis, who had just joined Kash n' Karry in January after a career with Albertson's. Byars is the fifth person to lead Kash n' Karry in the past four years.
Analysts don't know much about Byars. They'll be watching to see how well someone steeped in the low-frills culture of Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion does at running a chain in one of Florida's most competitive grocery markets. - Linda Gibsonavon