THQ, Supervalu stocks slide in 2012

THQ and Supervalu were the two biggest losers among area stocks during 2012, according to an analysis of 78 publicly traded companies with a significant presence in East Central Illinois.

THQ, which owns the Volition video game studio in Champaign, saw its stock price drop from $7.60 a share to 29 cents a share over the course of the year.

The company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in December after announcing a month earlier it was considering "strategic and financial alternatives" for raising more capital.

THQ has arranged for Clearlake Capital Partners to acquire its assets, and THQ's studios are continuing to operate as usual. Volition is probably best known for its "Saints Row" and "Red Faction" game franchises.

Meanwhile, Supervalu, which has a grocery distribution center in Urbana and the W. Newell produce distribution center in Champaign, saw its stock price plummet from $8.12 a share to $2.47 a share.

During one day in mid-July, the stock price fell by half as the Minnesota-based company announced weak earnings, suspended its dividend and said it would consider alternatives, including possibly putting itself up for sale. Supervalu's CEO was fired later that month.

More recently, there have been press reports that a buyer may be interested in acquiring some of Supervalu's retail grocery chains.

Also taking a beating in 2012 were:

— Sony Corp., which acquired iCyt in Champaign in 2010 and changed the name last year to Sony Biotechnology.

— Exelon Corp., which operates the Clinton nuclear plant at Clinton.

Sony's stock price dropped from $18.04 a share to $6.84 a share, with its most precipitous drop coming in the spring, while Exelon's share price slid from $43.37 to $29.74 during the year.

On the flip side were several companies that posted enormous gains in stock prices.

Bon-Ton Stores — whose stores include Bergner's in Champaign and Carson's in Danville and Mattoon — managed a mammoth reversal, with its stock nearly quadrupling over the course of the year.

Its stock started 2012 at $3.37 a share and finished the year at $12.16 a share. The price had its ups and downs during the first half of the year but trended upward during the second half — even though the company continued to post quarterly net losses.

Nacco Industries saw its share price shoot up from $28.42 at the outset of the year to $60.69 at the close.

During 2012, the company spun off its materials handling group, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling. Hyster-Yale, which has a parts distribution center in Danville, closed the year at $48.80 a share.

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, spent most of the year in the doldrums, having filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court in November 2011. But its stock price appreciated sharply in December as a merger of American with US Airways seemed more likely.

AMR started the year at 35 cents a share and by year's end climbed to 79.5 cents a share. Its American Eagle subsidiary serves Willard Airport in Savoy, with flights to Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Also recovering in 2012 was Regions Financial, the Alabama-based banking chain that took longer than many other large regional banks to claw its way back to health. Regions has several locations in central Illinois, including offices in Champaign and Clinton.

Other strong performers last year included:

— Carmike Cinemas, which operates a theater complex in Champaign.

— Eastman Chemical, which in 2011 acquired the assets of TetraVitae Bioscience in Champaign.

— Comcast, which provides cable service to Champaign, Urbana, Danville and several other communities in Champaign, Vermilion and Douglas counties.

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