For the time being at least, as Synacor Inc. goes, so goes Rand Capital Corp.
And during the third quarter, with Synacor’s stock dropping, so did the value of Rand’s investments.
The Buffalo venture capital firm said the value of its investments fell by 6 percent during the third quarter — a decline caused entirely by a $3.5 million reduction in the value of its holdings in Synacor, the Buffalo Internet content provider whose shares tumbled by 45 percent during the summer.
Yet even with the big drop in Synacor’s stock — a tumble that has continued into November — Rand still has a big profit from its investment in Synacor. At current prices, Rand’s stake in Synacor is worth almost five times its investment in the company.
The overall value of Rand’s investments slid to $25.9 million, or $3.84 per share, at the end of September, down from $27.5 million, or $4.03 per share, at the end of June, with all of the decline coming from the drop in Synacor’s shares, which are being carried on Rand’s books at their market value at the end of the quarter.
Rand sold 50,000 of its Synacor shares during the third quarter and plans to sell its remaining 4 percent stake in the company over time.
Allen F. Grum, Rand’s president, said many of the companies that Rand has invested in — including Synacor — are growing and are making progress in getting their products established in their markets. Gemcor, a West Seneca company that makes automatic riveting machines for aircraft assembly, has record sales and its backlog of orders is at an all-time high. Chequed.com, a Saratoga Springs company that makes online reference checking and pre-employment testing software, has landed several big corporate customers, while Georgia-based boat maker Carolina Skiff is leading its sector of the boat market in sales.
“The progress being made by these businesses is incredible,” Grum said.
Because Rand’s shares, which were down 11 cents at $2.31 this afternoon, are trading for almost 40 percent less than their net asset value, the company has been buying back some of its stock.
Rand spent almost $550,000 to repurchase 205,150 shares at an average price of $2.67 during the third quarter and its board of directors gave the company permission to buy back up to 500,000 additional shares through the end of this month.
During the quarter Rand invested an additional $1 million in Gemcor, boosting its stake in the business to 31 percent. Gemcor accounts a little less than a third of Rand’s total net assets. Rand also cut in half the valuation of its stake in EmergingMed.com, a New York City cancer clinical trial matching and referral service, as part of an evaluation of its future business strategy, company officials said.
Rand also borrowed an additional $1.5 million for its Small Business Investment Corp. at a record-low cost of 3 percent, including fees. With $5 million available for new investments through its involvement with the U.S. Small Business Administration investment program and further funds expected to be raised by future sales of its Synacor stock, Grum said Rand has ample money available for new investments.