a21 Restructures, Prepares for Growth

Posted on 9/12/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

a21, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based owner of SuperStock, Purestock and ArtSelect, is consolidating and restructuring to improve profitability and prepare for upcoming growth initiatives.

Contrary to those who describe the current image-market conditions as challenging, John Ferguson, the company's CEO, characterized a21's core lines of business - which include the stock image, art and wall décor industries - at an inflection point "that is creating significant growth opportunities." To capitalize on these opportunities, Ferguson points to the need to free up resources and improve a21's overall efficiency, thus bringing the company closer to profitability in the short term.

To accomplish this, a21 will consolidate ArtSelect's Iowa-based support operations into its Jacksonville headquarters and shutter the Iowa offices. In addition, the Supertock team will be reorganized. No details have been released, but layoffs at all levels are anticipated.

Tom  Costanza, a21's CFO, expects the consolidation of overhead to improve the company's annual operating results by $1 million. He adds that a21 is also examining its capitalization and debt structure to improve cash flow.

Management hopes such measures will position the company to launch new initiatives and support current products. According to Ferguson, these have been "designed to meet the creative needs of the marketplace and to create significant value for our stockholders."

a21's second-quarter revenues of nearly $6 million were down 7% from the first quarter. The company's stock-image revenues have been steadily around $3 million per quarter since late 2005. While it is unclear whether a21 plans to invest the capital it frees up through restructuring into its image-licensing arm, $1 million is a huge cash boost for a company whose working capital was previously $3.5 million with no short-term debt obligations.

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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