Philly Inc: Big moves for shares in Exton firms

Posted: March 20, 2012

Exton's small corporate community made a little noise on a rather lackluster day for the stock market.

Two public companies that have their headquarters in Chester County's West Whiteland Township - Kensey Nash Corp. and WPCS International Inc. - were among the biggest movers locally on Monday after releasing news Friday following the close of the trading week.

Medical device maker Kensey Nash has been enmeshed in a dispute with longtime (and much bigger) partner St. Jude Medical Inc. over a device, called Angio-Seal, used to close wounds after heart-artery surgery.

In December, Kensey Nash had estimated the value of the intellectual property and royalty payments involved in the dispute at $125 million. The day the company announced that it would enter mediation with Minnesota's St. Jude in an effort to resolve their differences, shares of Kensey Nash fell 22 percent.

Late Friday, Kensey Nash announced it had entered into a settlement agreement. St. Jude agreed to pay a total of $39 million, in 12 equal quarterly payments. Also, Kensey Nash will continue to supply collagen to St. Jude for Angio-Seal through 2017, amounting to an additional $31 million.

Investors must have liked what they heard. On Monday, Kensey Nash shares closed up 23 percent, or $5.61, to $30.20 - making it the biggest gainer among local stocks.

WPCS International had a big move too, but in the opposite direction. Exton-based WPCS was the object of a possible acquisition by Multiband Corp., another Minnesota company, for $3.20 per share last June. While Multiband wound up buying WPCS' operations in St. Louis and Sarasota, Fla., in exchange for $2 million in September, the wider deal proved elusive.

On Jan. 31, Multiband, an installer of DirecTV service, disclosed that it would not proceed with buying WPCS and instead would pay a breakup fee of $250,000.

On Friday, WPCS, which installs wireless networks and provides electrical contracting for the health-care, energy and government sectors, reported lots of red ink for its latest quarter.

WPCS had a net loss of $10.32 million, or $1.48 per share, on revenues of $20.49 million for its third quarter ended Jan. 31. That compares with a net loss of $3.46 million, or 50 cents per share, on revenues of $21.42 million.

Investors responded Monday by pushing WPCS shares down 18 percent, or 30 cents, to $1.33. According to WPCS' most recent proxy statement, Multiband owned 709,271 shares of WPCS, or 10.2 percent of the company, as of Nov. 10.

Finally, not to be outdone, Omega Flex Inc., a third and smallest public company that is all but based in Exton, filed its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Omega Flex, which manufactures flexible metal hose for natural gas in residential construction in an Exton plant, reported 2011 sales rose $7.32 million to $54.19 million. Net income rose a bit to $4.63 million, or 46 cents per share, in 2011 from $4.57 million, or 45 cents per share.

While most of Omega Flex's 116 employees work in Chester County, its corporate office is in Middletown, Conn. Shares of Omega Flex closed at $13.06, up 7 cents.

Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @PhillyInc. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.

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