Lakewood Ranch's Evolucia battling debt, possible bankruptcy

CEO urges company to stay away from bankruptcy

cschelle@bradenton.comJuly 2, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Struggling LED lighting company Evolucia is trying to fight off bankruptcy, according to the interim CEO in a letter to shareholders.

Chief Executive Officer Thomas Seifert released a letter to shareholders Sunday saying the Lakewood Ranch company has $2.9 million in vendor and accrued debt and is hiring firms to help protect and profit of its patents.

"My experience is that bankruptcy is neither in the best interest of Evolucia nor its creditors, so it is my hope that we can develop a plan that services this debt on a schedule that allows for ongoing corporate development, recovery and scaled growth," Seifert wrote.

The company only had $14,471 in cash on hand as of March 31, according to its quarterly report. Evolucia also reported a net loss of $1.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a $2.1 million loss during the same period in 2013.

Seifert wrote that the company still operates out of the building at 7040 Professional Parkway despite media reports of no cars or signs of the company being active at the building. Seifert replaced CEO Mel Interiano, who resigned in April after low sales.

In the first-quarter report released Friday, Evolucia ac

knowledges it only has two full-time employees and has released its entire staff. Evolucia also documents in its report that "we have received a notice of violation from our landlord" and is in default for its operating lease. The landlord, Fred Starling, is also a shareholder.

"While we do not know the current outcome in relation to the obligation on the lease, the discussions with the landlord are amicable and both parties are seeking a solution that is agreeable for both parties," the company states in its report.

Seifert also acknowledges in his letter that company offices may be relocated.

The company hired DLA Piper in May to license intellectual property and to protect is patents through potential litigation to increase revenue, according to the quarterly report.

Sarasota firm RoBrady Design has also been hired to perform mechanical engineering for its Aimed Optics LED products.

"This is critical to the future of Evolucia as competing in this industry requires constantly re-engineering products in order to reduce costs and improve performance by keeping pace with the rapid advancement of technologies and new optical, thermal and LED component developments that continue to drive the industry forward," Seifert wrote to shareholders. "Over the next 12 months, we will be working with our partners to develop the next generation of Aimed Optics products."

While Evolucia has targeted LED lightning for retail and interior uses, the quarterly report reveals the company will be using its Aimed Optics products to search for sales in outdoor lighting.

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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