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Telecommunications Company Fails to Connect

Investors aren’t exactly laying out the welcoming mat for MRV Communications Inc., which has begun trading again on the Nasdaq after being delisted about five years. Shares in the Chatsworth telecommunications company are down about 10 percent since the March 19 listing following time on the OTC Market. However, management remains optimistic, noting that returning to the Nasdaq opened the door for larger institutions and wealthy individuals to invest in the company. “We are a company that has a good story to tell and we’d like to get that story out,” said Chief Executive David Stehlin. “A hefty investor pool and active stock are good things for a public company.” Shares closed at $13.44 on April 16, down from $14.90 on the day it was listed. But despite the recent slump, the stock is still trading well above its 200-day moving average price of $12.33. Getting back on a major exchange had been a goal for senior management for several years. Among the requirements the company had to meet were independent members on the board of directors, provision of information on outstanding shares, increasing market capitalization, and timely quarterly and annual filings. Falling behind on quarterly reports got MRV in trouble with Nasdaq in the first place. In 2008, the company was repeatedly late with filings due to a review by a special committee of the board of directors into past stock option practices and other accounting issues. Finally, after blowing another deadline, the company was suspended from Nasdaq in June 2009. MRV did resume its quarterly earnings reports while on the OTC Market, Stehlin said. Founded in 1988, MRV has more than 400 employees in hardware and software divisions working in offices in the U.S. and 12 foreign countries. The company supplies equipment and software to manage large computer networks operated by telecomm service providers, cable operators, manufacturers, data centers, governments and schools. Its competitors include such larger firms as Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose and Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale. The company reported a net loss of $1.2 million (-17 cents a share) for the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared with net income of $6.5 million (84 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased 10 percent to nearly $51 million. Stehlin, who joined MRV in 2011 and became chief executive two years later, called 2013 a transition year for the company. Investment in research and development increased 20 percent, and there was positive operating income for the first time in years. “We are doing all the things we have to do to grow both the top line and the bottom line,” Stehlin added.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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