American Bank Note Holographics, a company whose roots go all the way back to 1795, has been sold to JDS Uniphase for $138 million. The company will retain its offices at 2 Applegate Drive in Robbinsville. No lay-offs are expected.
American Bank Note Holographics makes and markets holograms for security uses in items such as debit cards. The company is headed by Kenneth Traub, who holds the titles of president and CEO. Traub was a co-founder of Franklin Road-based Voxware, which was then a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company. He took it public just as the Internet was heating up, but before making phone calls over the Internet had won anything like mass acceptance, and it is now a voice logistics firm.
Traub joined American Bank Note Holographics as chief financial officer mere hours before the promising-looking company went into free fall. “In 1998 ABNH had been a very successful IPO at $7.50, and when I met the management, stock was trading at about $18,” Traub told U.S. 1 in an interview published on January 12, 2005. “It looked to me like a perfect opportunity. They hired me as executive vice president and CFO. On my first day of work, January 12, 1999, together with Deloitte & Touche, I discovered there had been a fraud.”
The chairman of the board, the president, and the CFO were all been found guilty of violations of securities laws, including publishing false financial statements. The stock fell from $15 to under $1. “It was an Enron-like scandal. We were proactively dealing with many of the issues of Sarbanes-Oxley ahead of our time,” said Traub. He was asked to take over the company, and his turnaround efforts were so successful that they were the subject of a case study at Columbia Business School.
The company, nicely recovered from its fiscal wrongdoing, has prospered by trying to prevent fiscal wrongdoings in others. In discussing its purchase by JDS, CNN wrote that “according to recent data from the International Chamber of Commerce, the brand protection market is at a tipping point. The costs to brand owners battling counterfeiting were estimated to be $600 billion in 2006 and will grow to $1.2 trillion by 2009.”
In this climate, American Holographic Bank Note, “a market leader in the origination, production, and marketing of holograms for security applications and the leading supplier of optical security devices for the transaction card market” certainly had a lot to offer to corporate suitors.
American Bank Note Holographics Inc. (ABHH), 2 Applegate Drive, Robbinsville 08691; 609-632-0800; fax, 609-632-0850. Kenneth Traub, CEO. Home page: www.abnh.com.
Plasma Physics Begins Search for New Director
After more than 10 years at the helm of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Robert Goldston has announced he will step down as director to focus on a broad range of domestic and international fusion energy initiatives.
The search is on for a successor, whose appointment will become part of Princeton’s proposal when it competes for a new contract to continue managing the lab. Goldston will remain on until his replacement is found.
Goldston joined PPPL as a graduate student in 1972, earned his doctorate in astrophysics from Princeton in 1977, and served in positions of increasing responsibility, including becoming a professor in the university’s department of astrophysical sciences, until being named the lab’s director in 1997. He will remain as director until his successor is in place next year.
Goldston led the lab through the construction of PPPL’s National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), the decommissioning of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), one of the world’s largest magnetic fusion devices; the beginning of construction of the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) fusion plasma confinement facility; the introduction of advanced computing to the lab’s theory department; and a broadening of the lab’s plasma science and technology activities.
He also led the defining of the U.S. plan for fusion development for the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee and participated actively in negotiations leading to the international ITER Project on fusion power.
“I have been involved in many of fusion’s big policy challenges,” Goldston said in announcing his decision on December 13. “I have now decided, however, that after these 10 exciting years, it will be better for the laboratory — and will let me continue to put my own efforts strongly into moving fusion forward — if we find a new candidate for director in our proposal for the next five-year contract period.”
The U.S. Department of Energy, which funds PPPL, plans to hold a national competition for a new management and operations contract for the lab, with the goal of having a new contract in place when the university’s current contract expires on September 30, 2008. Princeton has managed the lab since its inception in 1951. The lab’s research is focused on the physics of the very hot ionized gas, called plasma, that is used to produce energy from the fusion of light atoms.
Goldston plans to expand his studies of the safety and environmental advantages of fusion energy, and its role in mitigating climate change.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, James Forrestal Campus, Box 451, Princeton 08543-0451; 609-243-2000; fax, 609-243-2751. Robert J. Goldston, director. Home page: www.pppl.gov.
Triangle Sold, But
When a business has been in the family for 68 years, many emotions rise to the surface when it comes time to sell. Joseph Teti’s late father started Triangle in 1939 to reproduce blueprints for the construction business and soon expanded into copying, duplicating, and printing. “It’s always been in my family,” says Teti. “It’s what we did.”
Yet now, two months after the deal was signed and sealed, Teti, formerly the president and chief executive officer of Triangle, is well past the rough part. “In some ways it was quite agonizing,” he says, “but once I came to peace with it, I was perfectly fine with it.”
The sale is third in a series of changes for the company. Last December Triangle closed its art-supply store, a sideline that had evolved naturally after years of supplying architecture and engineering customers with pencils, paper, leads, and triangles for their mockups. Next came the sale of the building where the store resided, and it is now under contract to CVS. And the biggest transition was at the beginning of October when Teti sold the printing business to National Reprographics Inc., known as NRI — a 109-year-old family-run and woman-owned company based in Manhattan.
The plan is to continue to do business under the Triangle name into the foreseeable future because of strong brand awareness. Teti, who is one of three family members in the business, has a two-year employment contract with NRI as South Jersey regional manager. His sister is corporate secretary and treasurer, but she is planning to retire in six months. His son is an account executive and also responsible for production at the corporate hub, and his daughter is a project manager and a corporate customer services representative.
Triangle’s corporate headquarters and major production facility has been at 3175 Princeton Pike in Lawrenceville for the last eight years, in the old Princeton University Press building. The bulk of its work is for corporate customers, although it still maintains retail copy centers on Darrah Lane in Lawrenceville and on Route 31 one in Pennington. These locations, as well as the 11 independently owned franchises under the Triangle name, funnel large or technically sophisticated jobs to the Lawrenceville production hub, which is also now doing work for NRI locations in Philadelphia and Washington.
Teti feels that the culture at NRI mirrors what his family has created at Triangle. Both companies focus on customers, providing good value but not necessarily offering the lowest price in town, and both make sure their employees are happy in their work.
When NRI made an overture a couple of years ago, Teti was not ready, but when NRI came back a year ago, he decided to take it more seriously, partly because changes in the business were encouraging consolidation.
First of all, the business is driven by expensive technology. “Even though we were keeping up with it,” says Teti, “it was getting more difficult in terms of the size of investments.” A new machine for four-color printing, Triangle’s specialty, costs about half a million dollars, and the technology keeps changing. “If you can’t get your money out in two or three years, they might be obsolete,” observes Teti. “It used to be that a machine would last 10 to 20 years.”
In some of the mature, family-owned businesses Teti is familiar with, there are no succession plans. “The younger people have different ideas about what they should be doing for a living and what they should be paid,” says Teti, “and they are very covetous of their free time.”
Finally, with digital technology, printing shops are no longer tied to their neighborhoods and can do business across the country or world. This encourages the merging of locations as well as moves to smaller locations and a consequent savings in real estate and energy costs. Teti said that recently he had an order for banners from a Washington client, so he E-mailed the request to NRI’s Washington office, which did the print job and then delivered the banners to the client.
With these changes, firms have been buying up other firms to fuel growth. NRI, for example, has been acquiring companies for the last few years, and the company now has a “Northeast strategy,” says Teti. Two years ago NRI purchased a company in Boston, then a year ago a smaller one in Philadelphia. Then they opened in Washington. NRI was particularly interested in Triangle’s strong digital color business, and its location was perfect for their new strategy. “There was a big gap geographically where Triangle was,” says Teti.
A growth area for NCI and for Triangle is outsourcing or facilities management, where they supply equipment and personnel and then manage corporate print rooms, particularly for construction, architecture, and engineering firms. “That is part of the business that is a problem for companies,” says Teti. “We show them how they can save money.”
When things settle down a bit after the new year, Teti may have a little more time to do the things he enjoys, including travel, volunteer work, and visiting with the four and one-more-on-the-way grandchildren in Long Island. He is active in the Kiwanis Club of Trenton, which serves a Wednesday Thanksgiving meal to senior citizens at Luther Towers and is a volunteer docent at the State House.
Now a couple of months into his new life with NRI, Teti says, “So far, so good.” He is reasonably autonomous, but has noticed that a few more people are now involved in major decision making.
— Michele Alperin
Triangle — Your Creative Center, 3175 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-896-4100; fax, 609-896-2838. Joseph Teti, CEO. www.triangleart.com.
Medarex (MEDX), 707 State Road, Princeton 08540; 609-430-2880; fax, 609-430-2850. Howard H. Pien. Home page: www.medarex.com.
Medarex and Bristol-Myers Squibb, teamed up to develop a drug to treat advanced melanoma, have suffered a set-back. On December 10 the companies disclosed that three tests of their drug, ipilimumab, failed to show that it could meet its primary goal of shrinking tumors in at least 10 percent of patients with this cancer, the deadliest of skin cancers.
Stock of Medarex dropped 20 percent on the news, from $13.35 to $10.56, and it remains below $11 at press time. Nevertheless, on December 18, it announced that it would get a previously undisclosed milestone payment from another drug development partner, Amgen.
Founded in 1987, Medarex discovers, develops, and commercializes human antibody-based therapeutic products to treat cancer, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. In addition to Bristol-Myers, its partners include Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, ImClone Systems, and Novartis.
Sandoz Inc. (ADR), 506 Carnegie Center, Suite 400, Princeton 08540; 609-627-8500; fax, 609-627-8682. Bernhard Hampl, president and CEO. Home page: www.us.sandoz.com.
Sandoz, a pharmaceutical company that is a subsidiary of Novartis, has been sued by Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., parent of Cincinnati-based Duramed. Barr claims that Sandoz, and another company, Watson Pharmaceuticals, have violated its patent by marketing or planning to market the generics of its Seasonale birth control tablet.
Seasonale reduces a women’s menstrual cycle to four periods per year. Duramed said that its patent for the drug was reissued in September 2007. Watson launched its generic version in 2006, and Sandoz has filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application with the Food and Drug Administration to produce its version.
Barr, with headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, operates through subsidiaries Duramed, Barr Laboratories Inc., and Pliva d.d.
Tris Pharma, 2033 Route 130 South, Brunswick Business Park, Suite D, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-940-2800; fax, 732-940-2855. Ketan Mehta, president. www.trispharma.com.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has given Tris Pharma, a Monmouth Junction-based pharmaceutical company, $4.9 million in tax-exempt bonds through the state’s Edison Innovation Fund. In doing so, the fund helped to ensure that Tris would stay in New Jersey.
Tris Pharma, headed by Ketan Mehta, its CEO and president, is involved with researching and developing drug delivery technologies that enhance solubility and bioavailability, deliver controlled release formulations for solid and liquid dosages, offer orally disintegrating tablets for immediate and controlled release, and provide abuse deterrence platform for opiods.
Through its pharma partners, Tris has more than two dozen products in development, submission, and in market.
Mehta said that the grant money will be used for an expansion of the manufacturing capabilities and capital expenditure of the company.
“We will be able to do more,” Mehta said in a prepared statement. “We’ll have an expansion of our new warehouse. We’ll be able to have a lot more pharmaceutical equipment.”
The Edison Innovation Fund was started to help create, sustain, and grow high-tech businesses that will lead to high paying job opportunities for New Jersey residents. Growing jobs in New Jersey is the main purpose of the EDA. With big pharmaceutical companies announcing major job cuts, it could well be the smaller biotechs that will provide job growth going forward.
The EDA has supported Tris Pharma since March of 2002, when it had just eight employees. In the five following years the company has grown to 70 people, and it plans to add 50 more employees in 2008.
Lynn Sengstack, 53, on December 11. General manager of Music Together until illness forced her retirement, she was on the executive board of the Music Industry Council and a board member of the Music Publishers Association, which granted her its first-ever lifetime achievement award in November.
James Hawley Rendall, 88, on December 9. He was a broker with RBC Dain Rauscher on Nassau Street. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 22, at the George School Meeting House in Newtown, PA.
Rev. Margaret Ann Grow Fullman, 61, on December 16. An ordained deacon, she was associate pastor at Princeton United Methodist Church. A memorial service will be Saturday, December 22, at 1:30 p.m. at the church at Nassau and Vandeventer streets.