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These articles were prepared for the April 7, 2004
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Life in the Fast Lane
There are substantial doubts about RCN’s ability to remain in business. This grim assessment of the future of the telecommunications company comes from its accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and appears in a 129-page 2003 annual report belatedly filed with the SEC on Tuesday, March 30.
The good news is that on Thursday, April 1, RCN was granted a third forbearance agreement by its creditors. It now has until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 3, to reach a consensual agreement on a debt restructuring, which it hopes to implement through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The bad news, spelled out in the annual report, is that the company’s cash is dwindling. As of December 31, 2003, it had $18.4 million in available cash, temporary cash investments, and short term investments. At that time, approximately $199 million of cash was restricted under the terms of the company’s senior secured credit facility.
In its annual report, RCN states that "because the company’s cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments at December 31, 2003, and projected 2004 cash flows from operations are not sufficient to meet its anticipated cash needs for working capital, capital expenditures, and other activities for the next 12 months, the company’s auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, have stated in their audit opinion on the 2003 financial statements that there is substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern."
More bad news for RCN arrived from Nasdaq on Wednesday, March 31. The stock exchange, where the company trades as RCNC, warned that the company’s stock will be delisted if it does not trade at $1 or more for 10 consecutive days during the next six months. The stock, which traded at close to $80 early in 2000, is now trading at just under 30 cents. RCN is warning that any investment in the company at this point is "highly speculative."
A brash start-up, RCN papered Times Square with ads trumpeting a communications revolution not all that long ago. Headed by David McCourt, a Bostonian with a telecom background, it sells bundled telephone, cable television, and Internet services in densely populated cities, including New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. The company continues to roll out innovative new services, including an interactive gaming system that went live last week.
While RCN struggles to keep going, its CEO is doing quite well. The company’s annual report reveals that McCourt received a bonus of $2.2 million in 2003.
The Parkinson Alliance has moved from offices on Prospect Avenue and College Road to the Kingston building designed by Hank Bristol and formerly occupied by a company named Obik. This is the national headquarters for the organization that raises research money for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. The 10th annual Unity Walk in Central Park is set for Saturday, April 24, and in the Central Jersey area it has scheduled a golf outing on September 14, a 5-k race on October 2, and a fashion show on October 24.
Together with Parkinson’s Unity Walk, the Parkinson Alliance raises more than $2 million a year, including matching funds from the Tuchman Foundation and other foundations. The Tuchman Foundation matches any donated money so that 100 percent of all individual donations and 100 percent of all net proceeds of events goes to research. The matching funds pay for administrative costs.
"We are part of $11 million public private partnership," says Carol Walton, executive director, above right. Of those funds, more than half come from government entities, and the rest comes from private voluntary organizations like ours. For many organizations, Martin Tuchman, CEO of Interpool on College Road East, is a board member.
"We had a model that other states could use as a template for getting legislation," says Walton, who has just returned from the 10th annual public policy forum sponsored by the Parkinson’s Action Network in Washington, D.C. "New Jersey was the talk of the conference. And so far, New Jersey is the only state with a governor willing to put money behind the goal. You have to have the money to attract the researchers."
"We want to make sure that Parkinson’s gets its share. And we want to coordinate our efforts – to use it wisely, get the most leverage, and to focus on the best kind of research," says Walton.
"If we don’t do the research here, other countries will. In the past five years the overall budget for the National Institutes of Health has doubled from $13.6 billion to $27 billion," says Walton. "This is a 50 percent increase, but the current increase wants a three percent increase overall, but factoring in inflation, that means an overall decrease."
Walton, a former flight attendant, met the Tuchmans at this same public forum in Washington, D.C., six years ago. At the time, she was committed to as a volunteer to do advocacy work in San Francisco. She had been attending the forum for five years, ever since her father died of Parkinson’s. "Marty and Margaret came to San Francisco to ask me to help them do fundraising across the country, and they moved me to Princeton to start this organization. Once here, I sold my house by Fed Ex and never went back."
Officials from McGraw-Hill Employees Federal Credit Union have broken ground for a $5.3 million building slated to become the new headquarters for the organization. The facility off Old Trenton Road and Windsor Center Drive will replace the current headquarters on Route 571.
The financial institution, headed by Wayne J. Hudson II, has plans to expand throughout the United States through a combination of online banking and branch offices.
The credit union, which draws its membership from various companies, was established in 1997. PW Campbell, a Pittsburgh-based construction management company, will oversee construction of the 20,000-square-foot building.
The credit union employs about 40 people, and as many as 15 new jobs could be created over the next five years. Some 65 percent of the employees participate in the credit union, which also is open to 50 member companies including the YWCA of Princeton, Gillespie Advertising, and Colonial Cadillac and Hyundai.
The National Mapping Authority of Denmark has bought MapText Inc.’s Label-EZT and Label-EditT software to be used for automatic text placement in their topographic map production system.
MapText recently completed a three-day training session in Denmark to help them master the Label-EZT and Label-EditT products, with special emphasis on setting rules for the 1:50k topographic map series.
MapText has a specialty in text-placement applications for local, state, and national government mapping agencies worldwide. Its software places text automatically for virtually any kind of map or chart at high speed. The software is in use for making city street maps, highway maps, cadastral maps, soil maps, utility maps, as well as nautical and aeronautical charts.
PharmaSeq announced today has been awarded a new patent entitled "Electronically indexed solid-phase assay for biomolecules." The date of patent is February 3, 2004 and the patent number is 6,686,158.
This patent describes a method to use microtransponders in assays with multiple analytes. The patent solidifies PharmaSeq’s position in the field of microtransponder-based multiplex assay. In a prepared statement PharmaSeq’s President, Dr. Wlodek Mandecki, commented: "The new patent is further proof of innovation and capabilities of PharmaSeq’s technology".
PharmaSeq’s assay system is composed of microtransponders, high-speed reading instruments, associated software and diagnostic kits. The ability of microtransponders to instantaneously identify the type of molecule on their surfaces, coupled with their small size and high-multiplex capabilities, makes them a very attractive alternative to existing biochemical assays and combinatorial chemistry screens. The patent can be viewed by going to the U.S. Patent Office web site, patents.uspto.gov.
Yardville National Bancorp (NASDAQ: YANB) has expanded its relationship with agency-of-record Thacker & Frank Communications. The fiancial institution credits the addition of public relations to its marketing mix as a contributing factor in the past year’s results.
In a prepared statement Brian K. Gray, first senior vice president, said "Yardville National Bank (YNB) has enjoyed 20 percent loan growth, 16 percent deposit growth, and has opened three new branches in the past year, and we feel it’s vital to continue the momentum we’ve built with Thacker & Frank."
The bank’s new tagline, developed by its agency, is "banking on a more personal level."
Col. (Ret.) Frank S. Caprario, president of the board of trustees of The Community Blood Council of New Jersey, has named James Gosnay as its chief executive officer. Gosnay replaces Patrick Deschenes as CEO.
Gosnay has been with The Community Blood Council of New Jersey since 1996, initially joining the organization as an independent hospital contract administrator and becoming its chief operating officer in 1997. Since 2001 he has served as the director of hospital services and business development, and will continue in those capacities as well.
Prior to joining The Community Blood Council of New Jersey, Gosnay was with Baxter International and Carter Wallace. He holds a B.S. in business and marketing from St. Joseph’s University. Mr. Gosnay resides in Sewell, New Jersey with his wife and daughters.
Princeton eCom, a provider of electronic bill presentment and payment solutions, has received a $5 million private equity investment from its existing investors: Lazard Technology Partners, New Century Equity Holding, Mellon Ventures, and Terra Lycos Ventures.
The latest round of financing is to be used to accelerate development of products. The company, headed by Ron Averett, provides bill payment servies to banks, billers, and its third party partners.
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