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Two Florida companies see their stock prices increase 35% in 2007

Published 8 January 2008

Melbourne, Florida, is home to two security companies: Communication manufacturer Harris and biometrics specialist Authentec; both companies saw the price of their stock increase by more than 35% in 2007

It may be something in the water in Melbourne, Florida: Two local companies saw their stock prices rise more than 35 percent during 2007. Florida Today notes that the increased stock value of AuthenTec Inc. and Harris Corp. made the two companies the clear winners among Brevard County companies which trade publicly. AuthenTec became a publicly traded company in 2007 — debuting on NASDAQ in late June. It showed a 45.3 percent increase in its stock price, closing at $14.53 on the last trading day of 2007. On its first day as a publicly traded company in June, AuthenTec’s stock closed at $10 a share. The company is a biometrics specialist, and its fingerprint sensors are used as security access devices for personal computers, cellular phones, and home security systems. AuthenTec employs more than 100 people, mostly in Melbourne. Steven Wilmarth, vice president of investments at Raymond James & Associates in Melbourne, said the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing interest in biometrics. “It is certainly a well-organized company, and it certainly has strong leadership,” Wilmarth said. “We see continued opportunity there.” The stock successes of Harris are no surprise, Wilmarth said.

Harris is a much larger company, employing about 7,000 in Brevard. It has been a major communications manufacturer for a while and has been awarded large military contracts. The company’s stock price rose 36.7 percent in 2007, and closed the year at $62.68 a share.