Shares of SBA Communications, an owner of antennas used by cell phone providers, soared 630 percent from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2019, outpacing the broader market.

The stock market went on a tear for the past decade — and a handful of Palm Beach County companies managed to exceed the lofty standard set by their peers.

The strongest performer over the decade was SBA Communications (Nasdaq: SBAC) of Boca Raton. The company owns antenna towers used by providers of cellular service.

Shares of SBA Communications opened 2010 at $32.99. The stock closed the decade at $240.99, a 631 percent gain. By comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 201 percent during the decade.

The company owns nearly 30,000 towers. SBA Communications reported $1.9 billion in revenues in 2018.

Other winners included another telecom firm, Dycom Industries of Palm Beach Gardens, up 480 percent; Florida Power & Light parent NextEra Energy of Juno Beach, up 355 percent; Seacoast Banking Corp. of Stuart, up 297 percent; and private prison operator GEO Group of Boca, up 227 percent.

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Those calculations include stock appreciation but exclude dividend yields. SBA Communications, NextEra, Seacoast and GEO Group pay varying levels of dividends.

Among the Palm Beach County companies that struggled, Boca-based Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) was the most noteworthy.

The Fortune 500 retailer made a number of dramatic moves over the decade. It bought smaller rival OfficeMax. Office Depot then negotiated a deal to sell to larger competitor Staples, only to have that marriage nixed by the Federal Trade Commission.

More recently, Office Depot has tried to downplay its store footprint and reposition itself as a seller of business services. Investors were underwhelmed. Office Depot shares opened the decade at $5.10 and closed at $2.65, a 47 percent decline.

One Palm Beach County investor isn’t giving up on the company yet. Ken Berman, head of Gorilla Trades in Jupiter, notes that Office Depot’s shares have rebounded in recent months.

“ODP has made some very good moves to cut costs dramatically by closing under-performing stores, shutting non-critical distribution facilities, and focusing more on its e-commerce platform,” Berman says.

He calls the retailer’s shares risky but intriguing.

The most calamitous collapse among Palm Beach County companies came at Rennova Health, a long-troubled company that morphed from urine testing to operating rural hospitals.

West Palm Beach-based Rennova ended the decade essentially worthless. At the start of the decade, a single share of the company was worth $13.7 million — a mind-bending figure that adjusts for Rennova’s many reverse splits throughout the decade.

In the latest of many reverse splits, Rennova’s board in 2018 approved a one-for-500 split. In other words, 500 shares of the company were consolidated into a single share.

jostrowski@pbpost.com

@bio561



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