SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic here is looking for a new home for its common stock, the company said.
The company's stock was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange effective Nov. 2 because of its failure to meet NYSE continued listing requirements for financial performance and assets. Penn Traffic's bonds will continue to be listed and traded on the NYSE.
According to Penn Traffic Chairman Gary Hirsch, "The move by the exchange is not prompted by anything that has happened to Penn Traffic in the past few days, weeks or months. But we haven't met the New York Stock Exchange continued listing requirements for some time now."
A company spokesman told SN that Penn Traffic, which moved its listing from the American Stock Exchange to the NYSE in 1994, has not been in line with the requirements for approximately three years and that the delisting followed a routine review by NYSE regulators.
According to the spokesman, Marc Jampole, the company has been consistently falling short in net tangible assets and net income after taxes requirements, and "the stock exchange just had a standard review and they decided to delist." Jampole said the company wants to find another venue "as soon as possible" and that options being considered include "another exchange...it could be the NASDAQ or we could arrange for market makers to trade our common stock."
Market makers are the individuals who perform the actual buying and selling that takes place on the floor of a stock exchange.
Jampole said the action "has no impact on our stores, no impact on the employees and no impact on our customers. It has little or no impact on people who own the stock or want the stock." Regardless of where the stock is listed, he said, "it works the same way: you call your broker, or you go on-line."
The actual effect, Jampole said, will be felt by "somebody who wants to follow the stock on a daily basis by looking in a newspaper under the stock exchange [listings]."
The NYSE could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, the company, which operates 252 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Ohio and West Virginia, under the Big Bear, Bi-Lo, P&C Food and Quality Markets banners, has been making efforts to improve its financial footing. Earlier this year, Penn Traffic hired Goldman Sachs & Company to try to arrange a sale of a number of the Pennsylvania Bi-Lo stores. The company is also seeking to amend its revolving credit agreements with some of its lenders.
The company, in its last quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicated that neither of those efforts has borne fruit. It said in the report "no assurance can be given" that they will.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, Philadelphia, which had been hoping to make an offer to acquire 67 Bi-Los with another union local under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), told SN last week it is reconsidering its options after a decision by the other local to opt out of participation in the ESOP.
Analyst Ted Bernstein of Grantchester Securities in New York gave this assessment: "They need to concentrate on building sales again. It's been their underlying problem for a couple of years now."