Idaho’s stock market presence grows, then shrinks

The small stable of publicly traded companies had a net loss of members in 2013.

adutton@idahostatesman.comDecember 31, 2013 

Idaho lost publicly traded companies to other states this year through either headquarters relocation or business deals. A major women’s retailer based in Sandpoint may be poised to disappear from its stock exchange.

Idaho started the year with 11 companies listed on the New York and Nasdaq stock markets. By February, the listings of Boise Cascade Co. and Intermountain Community Bancorp had raised the total to 13. But now the tally is 10 and could soon fall to nine. (Some additional small Idaho companies sell shares that are traded “over the counter” — a speculative market with much less oversight than major-market stocks receive.)

The paper and packaging maker Boise Inc. said in September that it would join Illinois-based Packaging Corporation of America. The $1.27 billion sale allowed Boise Inc. to keep its Boise headquarters but with “downsizing of a fairly limited nature,” a spokeswoman said in November. About 55 of the headquarters’ 450 employees, including four corporate officers, were laid off by the end of the year.

Coeur Mining Inc., a company that made hundreds of millions of dollars a year, moved its headquarters to Chicago in October. The company incorporated in 1928 in Coeur d’Alene and had 65 employees there this year. But CEO Mitchell Krebs announced in March that he would move Coeur to Chicago in search of global expansion and growth.

Also in October, Bank of the Cascades, based in Bend, Ore., agreed to buy Home Federal Bancorp Inc. of Nampa. Home Federal had planned to sell to Washington-based Banner Bank for $197 million but ditched that deal when Bank of the Cascades offered more: $265.7 million.

Another of Idaho’s longtime local companies may be next on the list. Coldwater Creek, a national fashion retailer that caters to upper-income older women, announced in October that it’s open to a partnership, joint venture or sale. The company has long struggled to reverse its quarterly losses and declining sales.

Does this mean Idaho is hemorrhaging businesses? Not necessarily. Only a small fraction of Idaho companies are publicly traded, and that number hasn’t changed much from a decade ago. Shares of Boise Cascade, Micron, Idacorp, Intermountain Community Bancorp, Hecla Mining, MWI Veterinary Supply, U.S. Ecology and U.S. Geothermal still trade publicly. So do shares of Timberline Resources of Coeur d’Alene, though that company’s fate, like Coldwater Creek’s, is in doubt.

And many of the largest nongovernment employers in Idaho, such as Albertson’s LLC and J.R. Simplot Co., are privately held, while others, such as Boise’s two big hospital systems, are nonprofits without owners.

The Statesman tracks trading of Idaho public-company stocks in the “Idaho Public Companies” section of its daily stock listings in the print edition.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

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