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ABOUT PHOTO: Dynasty Limousine founder Anne Fleming, President Pierce Fleming, and general manager Shelly Fleming have taken their company public after building on a solid stretch limousine business.
SUMMARY: August becomes a wild ride for Dynasty Limousine of Jacksonville, Fla, as it debuts as a publicly traded company, buys its first limousine company, and wins a military contract.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sixteen-hour days and 12,500 pages of paperwork finally paid off for operator Pierce Fleming.
The president of DYNASTY LIMOUSINE in Jacksonville, Fla., saw shares of his company finally go public on Aug. 11, becoming the only publicly traded medium-sized limousine company in the U.S. The launch of trading happened just days before he closed a deal to buy Southeast Limousine of Blackshear, Ga., and land a contract to provide transportation service at Navy bases in northeast Florida.
For Fleming, a twice-nominated LCT Operator Of The Year finalist, the boosts to his business have unfolded despite a tough economy and intense competition.
DYNASTY LIMOUSINE, which operates a fleet of 15 vehicles, debuted Aug. 11 on the OTC MARKETS PINKSHEETS under the stock symbol “DNYS.” The company has about 4.6 million shares outstanding, with 667,000 available for trading and about four million shares owned by Fleming, his mother, Anne, and his wife, Shelly. The price per share this week has been about 20 cents. There were 57 shareholders of record as of Aug. 11, mostly family, friends, employees and clients.
The trading launch culminated a three-year process of getting the company prepared for the public investment market, Fleming said. Fleming began researching the idea in July 2007 and retained the securities division of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Cassidy & Associates to advise him on going public. By Nov. 28, 2008, Dynasty Limousine met the requirement of getting 50 shareholders of record, and then entered a one-year holding period until Nov. 20, 2009 when it could go public. But a final 30-60 day process for bringing shares to the market turned into a nine month odyssey, with mounds of paperwork, approvals, procedures, and certifications.
“The amount of paperwork was absolutely staggering,” Fleming said. “We had about 12,500 pages that were two stacks, each about six-inches tall. There were so many agencies involved because the regulations got stricter after the financial meltdown and the fraud on Wall Street.
“In January, we found out we couldn’t be an S Corp.,” he said. “That would have limited us to 75 shareholders. We barely caught it within in a week of the deadline to be able to change to a C Corp. That would have postponed things for an entire year.”
Dynasty Limousine has seen consistent growth in the last few years, with revenues for 2009 of about $800,000. Revenues for the first six months of this year are up 22% compared to the same period last year, with March and April setting monthly revenue records. Dynasty plans to soon announce major expansion plans.
“We had to work hard to get the numbers we got,” Fleming said. “I was working 15 to 16 hour days. I would run the company and then work on getting it public. Most people have someone outside to do that. It’s been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. There’s no room for air.”
To survive the recession and gather the strength to go public, Dynasty Limousine pursued a strategy of high quality service coupled with consistent pricing based on a business model that took advantage of low prices. The company also benefits from a high-profile location in a wealthy area south of downtown Jacksonville, where its multiple Hummer, Chrysler 300, and Town Car stretches can at times be seen from a busy boulevard.
“We’ve weathered the storm and been in business since 1998,” said Fleming, who previously worked as the general manager of an Acura dealership. “All of the other operators priced themselves out of the market. We haven’t deviated from our business model; we have expansion plans. Property is cheap, limos are cheap, and this is a great time to be expanding. We are paying pennies on the dollar for things that normally would be much more expensive. And as our competitors fall by the wayside, there is more market share for us.”
One day after going public, Dynasty announced its purchase of Southeast Limousine Inc. of Blackshear, Georgia, which included the vehicles, client base, and current book of business in an all cash transaction. The value of the transaction will be disclosed later in the company’s annual report. The vehicles purchased are a black 140” Chrysler 300 stretch limousine and a white 180” Hummer H2 stretch limousine. Dynasty, which has a staff of 16, did not retain Southeast’s employees. It absorbed the company, so it will not use the Southeast name.
The acquisition enables Dynasty to expand into the southeastern Georgia market, situated mostly along the Interstate 95 corridor between Jacksonville and Savannah, Ga. Dynasty, which is also looking to acquire other companies, has increased its market share during the recent economic downturn as the number of competitors has dropped by more than 30% nationwide. Overall, Dynasty has increased revenues by 70% from 2006 to 2009.
The owner of Southeast Limousine, Ben Howell, was an affiliate of Dynasty, Fleming said. Fleming’s mother and company officer, Anne Fleming, had developed an affiliate relationship with Southeast for prom service.
“[Ben] had the company for three years, and was never really able to get a good handle on the marketing needed to succeed,” Fleming said. “He had a great reputation for personal service and many loyal clients, but it's just that the Blackshear market was tough even before the economic downturn. We don't have an office in Georgia, [but] this territory is well within our service area.”
New U.S. Navy transportation contract
Finally, just this past Monday, Dynasty Limousine announced it has landed a contract to provide transportation services to the Department of the Navy. The initial contract period is for one year with a three-year renewal option. Dynasty will use a variety of vehicles for the contract, including sedans, SUVs, and a 30-passenger bus. “All of the vehicle in our fleet can be used as part of the contract, it just depends on how many people we are moving at one time,” Fleming said.
The specific terms of the contract are to provide transportation services to both Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Air Station Mayport, but the contract also provides clearance for usage by the following agencies: Army and Air Force Exchange Service, U.S. Army Family and MWR Command, Air Force Non-appropriated Fund Purchasing Office, U.S. Marine Corps Personal and Family Readiness Division, Navy Exchange Command, Commander Navy Installations Command, Fleet and Family Readiness, Coast Guard Exchange System, and other federal activities not specifically named in this contract.
In addition to the above stated contract award, Dynasty Limousine has recently placed a substantial bid for hurricane evacuation transportation with the Air Force. A decision on the Air Force contract is expected in late September.
Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine; MarketWire
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