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Posted by Dardadog on :
 

2004-07-19 12:06:03


USXP Announces Agreement with CIBT, Inc. for Travel Documents and International Cell Phone Services


***

Business Editors NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--USXP-- Universal Express (OTCBB:USXP) today announced its subsidiary UniversalPost has partnered with CIBT, Inc. to offer Visa and Passport processing services as well as a short-term International Cell Phone rental program to private postal stores nationwide. With more than 20 years of service and over one million visas and passports processed, CIBT is the global leader in the travel document field. "Over 7 million new or renewal passports are issued each year. Working with CIBT, UniversalPost now offers postal stores a value-added way to participate in this large market. Every passport or visa application referred to CIBT for expedited processing will result in commission payments to the referring stores plus the profit from selling overnight shipping label," said Jeffrey Fine, President of CIBT. "CIBT will process Visa and Passport requests for the clients of our member stores, providing greater convenience while saving them the hassle and time associated with making trips to the individual Embassies or US Passport Agencies," said Linda Jacobucci, President of UniversalPost. "Working towards a one-stop environment for these types of services would be beneficial to both the stores and their customers," she further stated. Global Phoneworks (GPW), a division of CIBT, has provided short-term cell phone rentals to international travelers for over five years. GPW is a service provider for the O2 network (formerly BT Cellnet), providing international cellular coverage in over 140 countries around the world. "Global Phoneworks offers convenient, easy-to-use cell phone service at guaranteed competitive prices to international travelers, without the hassle of, and commitment required, to activate a long-term international calling plan. Referral partners will receive a percentage of airtime sales generated by GPW phone rentals," said Mr. Fine. "Most US cell phones do not work overseas. Renting an international cell phone is a quick and easy way for travelers to keep in touch while abroad, "stated Ms. Jacobucci. About Universal Express Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp. (USXP Cash Express & Leasing Division), and Universal Express Logistics (Luggage Express and the Virtual Bellhop). These subsidiaries and divisions provide its private postal trade association, (Universal Post) customers, and couriers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods and luggage worldwide. For more information visit www.usxp.com. Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. KEYWORD: NEW YORK FLORIDA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TRANSPORTATION TRANSPORTATION TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKETING AGREEMENTS SOURCE: Universal Express CONTACT INFORMATION: TransMedia Group Glen Calder, 561-750-9800

------------------
Due Da Due......But Be Quick About It!!!!!


DaDog
 


Posted by Dardadog on :
 
USXP - UNIVERSAL EXPRES (OTCBB)
Date Open High Low Last Change Volume % Change
07/19/04 0.0140 0.0170 0.0140 0.0160 +0.0015 216094 +10.34%


Composite Indicator
Trend Spotter TM Buy

Short Term Indicators
7 Day Average Directional Indicator Buy

------------------
Due Da Due......But Be Quick About It!!!!!


DaDog
 


Posted by L Cypher on :
 
Press Release Source: Universal Express


Universal Express Subsidiary Announces Agreement with Ritz-Carlton to Offer Luggage Delivery Service
Monday August 30, 12:43 pm ET


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 30, 2004--Universal Express (OTCBB: USXP - News) announced today that its subsidiary, Luggage Express, has entered into an agreement with The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia Hotel. This is the first Ritz-Carlton property to announce that it will provide door-to-door luggage transportation to its guests.
Luggage Express is a diversified leader in the logistics industry, providing luggage transportation services to travelers. Customers enjoy the convenience of luggage-free travel, no carrying of heavy bags, and no waiting for airport check-in or baggage carousels.

"It is with great pleasure that we welcome The Ritz-Carlton as an integral partner of Universal Express, to join our growing list of partners which includes leading hotels, credit card companies, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators, and others leaders in the travel industry. Luggage Express has successfully moved countless passengers' luggage safely and reliably to their end destinations," stated Richard A. Altomare, President and CEO of Universal Express.

"Ritz-Carlton Hotel guests will appreciate the value of this unique alternative for transporting their luggage in today's heightened security and safety-conscious travel environment," said Cecilia Vesnesky, Director of Luggage Express.

"The Guest Services team at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia is proud to be able to offer a further enhanced Concierge service for our guests. Using Luggage Express will further enable us to fulfill even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests," said James Lally, Director of Guest Services.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp. (USXP Cash Express & Leasing Division), and Universal Express Logistics (Luggage Express and the Virtual Bellhop). These subsidiaries and divisions provide its private postal trade association, (UniversalPost) customers, and couriers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods and luggage worldwide. For more information visit www.usxp.com.

About Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. currently operates 58 award-winning hotels and resorts around the world. The only hospitality company to be honored twice with the coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, The Ritz-Carlton was also ranked the No. 1 luxury hotel company by J.D. Power and Associates in the 2003 North American Guest Satisfaction Index Study. The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia can be reached at (215) 523-8000.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Contact:
Media:
TransMedia Group
Glen Calder, 561-750-9800


Source: Universal Express

Good opportunity to get in, Coming off 52wk low.
 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
Anyone playing this one today? Big gainer!


Here is the news. USXP Universal Express Inc (OTC BB) 10/11/2004 11:01:04 AM ET

Realtime Quote $0.01 + $0.01 (+81.01%) Refresh Quote

Press Release for Universal Express Inc

Universal Express Purchases Alpine Airlines
10/11/2004 10:28:00 AM
NEW YORK, Oct 11, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Universal Express Inc. ( USXP ), effective 8:01 p.m. on Friday, October 8, 2004, Universal Express announced its purchase of 80% of Alpine Airline ( ALPE ).

Universal Express' offer has been initially accepted by Alpine's Board of Directors.

Multiple closing documents are ongoing and signed ownership documents have been accepted by Universal Express.

"The terms and agreements submitted by Universal Express have been accepted by me," said Gene Mallette, Alpine's 80% majority owner and President.

"Our first cargo airline now permits us to utilize the management team of Alpine to advance the additional (5) cargo airlines that discussions have been ongoing with," said Richard A. Altomare, Chairman & CEO of Universal Express.

"Alpine's acquisition cost is approximately $12,000,000 and over $30,000,000 in unencumbered assets will be acquired by Universal Express along with its United States Postal System contracts and $20,000,000 in revenues," continued, Richard A. Altomare.

"This undervalued cargo airline located in Provo, Utah will maintain its management and will remain initially as a separate trading entity," said Richard A. Altomare.

"Obviously an announcement of this importance will necessitate subsequent filings and public updates. This is our initial transportation and funding announcement as this ongoing story of Universal Express and now Alpine Airlines begins to be assimilated by analysts, shareholders and our investors," concluded Richard A. Altomare.

I would like to thank Alpine Board Members and our multiple funding sources for their confidence and support of Universal Express and its management.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp., (including its USXP Cash Express division) Universal Express Logistics, Inc. (including Virtual Bellhop, LLC and Luggage Express), and the UniversalPost Network. These subsidiaries and divisions provide the private postal industry and consumers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods worldwide.

About Alpine Air

Founded in 1975, Alpine Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alpine Air Express Inc., provides competitively priced scheduled air cargo flights throughout the western and southwestern United States. The Company has an established client base that includes various contract operations and the U.S. Postal Service. Alpine Air provides superior "on time" performance and reliability, together with the flexibility to adapt quickly to the growing frequency and capacity requirements of its clients.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE: Universal Express, Inc.

TransMedia Group
Glen Calder, 561-750-9800

 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
This was huge today. Might gap tomorrow and continue to run. There are 5 more possible deals they are working on.

"Our first cargo airline now permits us to utilize the management team of Alpine to advance the additional (5) cargo airlines that discussions have been ongoing with," said Richard A. Altomare, Chairman & CEO of Universal Express."

If buying one airline can make this stock run 200%+ just think what 5 more PR's like today's can do!


 


Posted by vclimber on :
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Universal Express to Offer $225,000,000 In Equipment Trust Certificates
Business Wire - October 12, 2004 10:11

NEW YORK, Oct 12, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Universal Express Inc. (OTCBB: USXP), announced today that it will offer a series of fully collateralized, senior, fixed income Equipment Trust Certificates. These non-pooled instruments, collateralized by both a federally recorded lien and dedicated revenue on individual cargo aircraft, are seven to ten years in term and return between six (6) and seven (7) percent annually, paid either monthly or quarterly. This investment is collateralized by the aircraft, which is fully insured in the name of the certificate holder.

"Cargo aircraft valuation has historically increased or been stable over the past decade and, since revenues are paid directly to the investor through the Trust, and is senior to any other debt, investors are fully collateralized for our present and future purchased cargo aircraft," said Richard A. Altomare, Chairman and CEO of Universal Express.

"In order to acquire at least four additional regional cargo carriers this proven form of transportation fund raising accomplishes three objectives: stand-by funding, non-dilution of our common stock and an introduction of Universal Express to institutional investors receiving 7% fixed return on their investment," concluded Richard A. Altomare.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp., (including its USXP Cash Express division) Universal Express Logistics, Inc. (including Virtual Bellhop, LLC and Luggage Express), and the UniversalPost Network. These subsidiaries and divisions provide the private postal industry and consumers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods worldwide.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Good news out. No dilution, seeking funding to aquire 4 more carriers.


SOURCE: Universal Express Inc.

Media:
TransMedia Group
Glen Calder, 561-750-9800

Copyright (C) 2004 Business Wire. All rights reserved.

 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
Upticking now
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Still going up, did anyone get in today?
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
think its gonna run?
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
im in for the ride
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
YEP!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
jump again up to 0.027!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
think it'll hit .03 today?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
We're green now, time to fly!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
yeah man rollin .028

 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Yeah, IMO .03 is possible... check the news for the last 2 days
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
im in for calvf too what do u think?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
calvf? Haven't been watching it...
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Moving closer to .03
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
ITS GOING .029!
 
Posted by famtrecrew on :
 
wow wish i would have bought when it was at .0225 today. I was debating between this or ARET and went with ARET because it was cheaper!! Danm It Danm It Danm It
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Check out the intraday chart, nice momentum, we could really fly after .03
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
0.03!!! Woo Hoo ! ! !
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
The dips went down around .019 this morning nice entry!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
i got in at .025 and nearly crapped my self i left for a meeting came back and it was down .017
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Can I hear another WHOO HOOO!???
 
Posted by MxPx on :
 
Famtrecrew I did the exact same thing I been watching USXP all morning I was gonna jump in at the low of the day but waited a little and decided to go with ARET I could have made almost 100% today on this.
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
WOO HOO!!!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
hey man what did u guys do?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Little shake, we still have 2.5 hours of trading left
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
here we go again .032 maybe this time...
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Volume is pouring in!
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
y is price dropping then?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
People will buy in the dips, gotta trade it!
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Next stop, 3rd floor! We should have a nice close.
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
whats your thoughts on this towards the end of the week?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
On another board there's a guy sayin .10 but I can't say for sure. He was right up to now.

Look at the news. They bought one airline and are arranging financing to purchase at least 4 more. The financing is in the form of notes, not dilution, and the notes seem to be reasonably secure. I would like to see some financials released but I can understand why they are delayed.

Do your dd and decide. This is only my opinion and I am playing this one day to day.
 


Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
as you probably new im fairly new at this i do most research on yahoo do you have certain site u like to look at?
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
This site is exceptional IMO. Watch and learn, there are some good traders around here. Just look at who started this thread...
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 12, 2004--Universal Express Inc. (OTCBB: USXP - News), announced today that it will offer a series of fully collateralized, senior, fixed income Equipment Trust Certificates. These non-pooled instruments, collateralized by both a federally recorded lien and dedicated revenue on individual cargo aircraft, are seven to ten years in term and return between six (6) and seven (7) percent annually, paid either monthly or quarterly. This investment is collateralized by the aircraft, which is fully insured in the name of the certificate holder.
"Cargo aircraft valuation has historically increased or been stable over the past decade and, since revenues are paid directly to the investor through the Trust, and is senior to any other debt, investors are fully collateralized for our present and future purchased cargo aircraft," said Richard A. Altomare, Chairman and CEO of Universal Express.

"In order to acquire at least four additional regional cargo carriers this proven form of transportation fund raising accomplishes three objectives: stand-by funding, non-dilution of our common stock and an introduction of Universal Express to institutional investors receiving 7% fixed return on their investment," concluded Richard A. Altomare.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp., (including its USXP Cash Express division) Universal Express Logistics, Inc. (including Virtual Bellhop, LLC and Luggage Express), and the UniversalPost Network. These subsidiaries and divisions provide the private postal industry and consumers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods worldwide.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contact:
Media:
TransMedia Group
Glen Calder, 561-750-9800


 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
I posted that hours ago page up and check the PR's. Hopefully we will be getting some more soon, post them when you see em.
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
oops srry
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
No prob. Watch this baby close today. It should be interesting.
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
oh i have been and plan to do so till at least the end of the week
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Here we go again. 3rd day in a row to make some $ on this stock.
 
Posted by Dardadog on :
 
It's been a sweet thang!!!!!!!!!

------------------
'wid ma mind on ma money an' ma money on ma MIND!!!!!!!

Do Da Due!!!

RUFF!!!

Dog
 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
Up 200% day 1, up a penny from lows of yesterday, and we are headed in the right direction today! Play it right and make $.
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
here we go
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
dippity doo da
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
hey daradaog u have any opinions on CALVF?
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
SIDY is also up .019
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
Dip im in at .022
 
Posted by eastcoastrader on :
 
go figure i buy and volume dies
 
Posted by salemm on :
 
Anyone out there think this still has the guts to go to .025 by tomorrow? It's clean-up time and this one is dragging me down this afternoon.
salemm.
 
Posted by vclimber on :
 
Business Editors / Technology Writers

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 14, 2004--
Universal Express Inc. (OTCBB: USXP), Universal Express'
UniversalPost Division signed an agreement for electronic payment
processing services that will be offered to member postal stores
throughout the United States.
"Paymentech, in our opinion, is "best in class" amongst the
processing companies we considered. Its customer service and its
highly efficient uptime make it the premier payment processor in North
America," said Linda Jacobucci, President of UniversalPost.
"Paymentech's ability to give to our member postal stores the same
speed and efficiency as any Fortune 500 company really adds to our
long-term growth strategy," concluded Linda Jacobucci.
"We're obviously thrilled to be working with such a well-respected
association and its member stores," said Scott Cruickshank,
Paymentech's Chief Marketing Officer. "By offering a broad portfolio
of payment options, Paymentech can offer the technology and expertise
that will grow with each member store as their businesses grow."
"Universal Express' core businesses simply march forward with
fundamental partnerships and accomplishments. Obviously, I
congratulate UniversalPost for adding such a prestigious partner to
the already long list of products and services provided to the private
postal industry, which can be viewed at www.universalpostnetwork.com,
said Richard A. Altomare, Chairman of Universal Express.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries
including Universal Express Capital Corp., (including its USXP Cash
Express division) Universal Express Logistics, Inc. (including Virtual
Bellhop, LLC and Luggage Express), and the UniversalPost Network.
These subsidiaries and divisions provide the private postal industry
and consumers with value-added services and products, logistical
services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods
worldwide.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not
historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks
and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but
not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with
respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and
services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services,
and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

KEYWORD: NORTH AMERICA NEW YORK UNITED STATES
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TECHNOLOGY DATA MANAGEMENT CONTRACT/AGREEMENT
SOURCE: Universal Express Inc.


CONTACT INFORMATION:
TransMedia Group
Glen Calder, 561-750-9800
_________________


 


Posted by vclimber on :
 
HERE IS A VERY NICE READ FOR DD. TAKE SOME TIME TO LOOK IT OVER.

10/19/04 - Florida Firm Hopes To Build Largest Cargo Carrier Alpine Air First Of Five Acquisitions

Oct 18, 2004 (Commuter/Regional Airline News/Access Intelligence via COMTEX) -- Using its recent purchase of Utah-based Alpine Air [ALPE] as a foundation, Universal Express [USXP] wants to assemble the nation's largest cargo airline within the next 12 months.
Universal CEO Robert A. Altomare plans to assemble an airline with 200 planes. The new airline would serve the company's growing Luggage Express division. The Luggage Express division, and its companion company, Virtual Bellhop, ferries luggage from a customer's front door via a cargo carrier to the passenger's end destination.

Alpine CEO Gene Mallette, on Altomare's behalf, has identified four other airlines that Universal is courting, but he declined to name them. "If we do the four acquisition targets, that will put us close to the goal. It is a hard goal and we both have signed off on it and we will work our tails off," Mallette said. Universal hopes to reach a sales agreement with two of the airlines by the end of the year.

Florida-based Universal is not just targeting regional carriers flying planes similar to Alpine's Beech 99s and Beech 1900s."The companies that we have visited and discussed have a wide variety of aircraft. Some are much larger than Alpine and some are smaller than Alpine's," Mallette told CRAN.

Earlier this year Universal tried to purchase the assets of Arrow Air, while it was exiting bankruptcy. The Florida-based carrier flies DC-8s and DC- 10s. "We wanted to buy Arrow and then Alpine so we could have some big planes and some smaller ones," Altomare told CRAN.

Universal plans to build the network by leveraging the assets of the carriers it purchases. Universal's balance sheet pales in comparison to Alpine's.

Universal filed its fiscal 2004 annual report, which ended June 30, on Oct. 13 - two days after announcing the Alpine deal. Universal posted a loss of $9 million in fiscal 2004 on top of a $6.5 million loss in fiscal 2003. On June 30, Universal had total assets of $296,000 including $100,000 in cash. In the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Universal's auditors stated its current financial conditions raised "substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern without raising additional debt or equity."

On the other hand, Alpine had a quarterly net income of $135,000 on July 31. Alpine's third quarter statement lists $25.8 million in assets, including $155,000 in cash.

"We both have warts to some degree," Mallette said. "The underling principle provides Alpine with the ability to derive cash from the market. The deal outweighs a couple of warts."

In the Alpine deal, Universal will pay $12 million for 80 percent of the company's stock. In addition, it will refinance a portion of the airline's fleet of 30 planes.

"We have some funders and bankers who will allow us to collateralize the equipment to get the funds to begin this journey," Altomare said. "If Alpine did not have the assets, it would be impossible for this young company [Universal] to get the capital."

To that end, Universal has announced that it will offer a series of equipment trust certificates to raise $225 million by collateralizing cargo aircraft that it acquires from regional cargo airlines. While Universal released a press release announcing the offering, it has not filed paperwork with the SEC.

The Deal

Mallette, who owns 80 percent of Alpine's stock, agreed to sell the carrier to Universal in order to tap the equity market. (Alpine is one of two publicly traded regional cargo carriers.) Although Alpine went public in 2001, its stock is thinly traded. On the other hand, Universal's 25,000 shareholders average 10 million sales each day.

Both companies are considered penny stocks trading on the over-the- counter market. So thinly traded is Alpine's stock that it took two days after the sales announcement on Oct. 11 for the first shares to trade hands. The sales announcement did little to move the sales price off the 51 cents per share mark. Over the course of the week, Universal's share price increased from about 0.006 cents a share prior to the announcement, peaking at 0.03 cents per share on Oct. 12 and then falling to 0.017 cents per share by Oct. 14. More than 14 million shares traded hands on Oct. 12.

Alpine stock failed to move in over-the-counter trading despite posting two consecutive quarterly profits. "Our stock continues to languish. An atomic bomb could go off in our hangars and no one would know it," Mallette said. "We are not followed by large companies. We have very little held by institutional investors."

"We are good at getting money and getting the story out there," Altomare said. "Gene [Mallette] has the company, but he could not get $30 or $40 million. We could."

The deal creates greater liquidity. As Universal courts other airlines, Mallette said that it could offer both cash and stock to other airline owners. "They would not have to wait 23 years to sell on a thinly traded market. It enhances Alpine's and Universal's ability to do acquisitions," he said.

Within in a week, Universal plans to file offering documents with the SEC giving each shareholder the opportunity to sell at a still undisclosed share price. Mallette said he will tender how ever many shares are need to reach the 80 percent threshold.

Fitting In

As Universal's Luggage Express continued to grow, Altomare said a decision was made so that the company would not be dependent on outside providers. The company now uses 7,000 courier companies around the world including FedEx, UPS and DHL. "We are the first logistical company that has outsourced 95 percent of its stuff. This is the first time we are purchasing a nuts-and-bolts, brick-and-mortar operation. We can use our own aircraft at less than the cost of using FedEx. We can bring the cost down of the luggage business without disturbing [the regional carriers'] core business."

Luggage Express now carries 9,000 to 11,000 pieces of luggage every month. Altomare said that 72 percent of those who use the service once, do so again. "It is hard the first time to get someone to give up their stuff, but when you walk into your hotel room and it is already on the bed that is terrific," he said.

The service once cost $130 per suitcase but it is now $60 to $70 per bag.

In the last six months, Luggage Express has picked up contracts with the Ritz-Carlton, Citibank and cruise lines. "We have become the No. 1 niche luggage movement company in the country," Altomare said. "We have done more than 4 million suitcases since we started. We have never misplaced a single suitcase."

"This is a deal where two plus two equals five," said Mallette. "There is not only synergy on the expense side, but also synergy on the income side. All the aircraft will continue to honor existing contracts. Alpine hopes to secure some of the Luggage Express business that is going to other carriers." However, Mallette admitted that Alpine's existing routes in the Rocky Mountain states may draw little of the new business. At the same time, Alpine's new Hawaiian operations has much greater potential (CRAN, May 31).

Universal's original division, UniversalPost, is a network providing support services and products to 8,000 independent postal centers. Altomare draws a parallel to the FTD network of independent floral shops.

"We do believe that some regional cargo aircraft would benefit from the synergy with the postal stores. They are in direct competition with their providers. [FedEx and UPS now both operate storefront, full-service retail locations.] We are interested in that $8 billion industry, which is not on anyone's radar screen."

Altomare has much grander plans for Luggage Express. A year ago he made a presentation on Capitol Hill suggesting that luggage for buses and trains be transported by companies similar to Luggage Express. Since neither bus nor train operators can effectively screen their passengers' luggage, he said it would be safer to keep the suitcases separate. Taking the idea a step further, Altomare suggested that airlines encourage their passengers to send their luggage ahead. By implementing this procedure, he said, the government and the airline would save billions at the airport by inspecting less checked luggage. Airlines, he said, could encourage the use of a luggage services by charging stiff prices to stow a suitcase.

As Alpine joins the Universal family, Altomare said his firm could build upon Alpine's established relationship with the U.S. Postal Service to promote the luggage transfer concept.

Track Record

Alpine and Arrow Air are not the first airlines that Universal attempted to buy. A year ago, Universal paid a $1 million deposit to buy privately held North American Airlines, a passenger charter operation. Six weeks later the deal was scrapped. The two sides have traded lawsuits, with Universal seeking $168 million. North American CEO Dan McKinnon declined to comment due to pending litigation.

According to the SEC filing, Universal in the last year shed two other firms it had acquired shortly after purchasing the firms. Two months after buying Bags to Go, Universal sold the company back when Altomare, the company's sole director and officer, decided to reduce Universal's long-term debt. Earlier this year, Universal sold Subcontracting Concepts back to its original owner, nixing a deal that was made last November.

Alpine's Contracts

Alpine expects a decision this quarter on another major mainland contract, Mallette told CRAN. He would not disclose the details. Alpine's only substantial current contract is with the postal service both on the mainland and in Hawaii. Whether the carrier gets the new contract or not will influence where Alpine deploys its newly acquired Saab 340 freighters.

The carrier is about to take delivery of its first Saab 340 freighter, which was ordered last spring (CRAN, June 14). Its second plane should arrive shortly after the first, Mallette said. The Saabs will be sent to Hawaii unless the new mainland contract comes through, he said.

In November, Alpine will ferry two more planes to Hawaii to provide extra capacity during the Christmas season. "According to the post office, we have the best service score ever posted in the state," Mallette said.

Alpine is now in the process of developing additional contracts in Hawaii providing same-day transport of other goods between the islands. These "co-load' contracts have provided enough additional income to cover the higher fuel prices the carrier has had to absorb, he said.

>>Contacts: Robert Altomare, Universal, (561) 367-6177; Gene Mallette, Alpine, (801) 373-1508; Dan McKinnon, North American, (718) 656-2650.<<

Commuter/Regional Airline News, Vol. 12, No. 40



 




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