In just 10 days, The South Financial Group has seen more than one-third of its already puny share value disappear amid heightened concerns over the company missing its quarterly TARP payment and a potential reverse stock split.
Shares of TSFG have fallen from 95 cents on March 12 to 63 cents by the close to trading Monday. Monday’s close marked the sixth straight day of declining share prices for Greenville-based South Financial.
South Financial, which received $347 million in 2008 from the federal government as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, announced in January that to preserve capital it was suspending dividends on all remaining outstanding equity and capital instruments.
And last week South Financial reported that it will seek to amend its articles of incorporation to effect a reverse stock split of major proportions at the company’s upcoming annual meeting.
If approved, the amendment would permit but not require the board to ”effect a reverse stock split of our common stock at any time prior to November 30, 2010 by a ratio of not less than one-for-five and not more than one-for-fifty,” according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The move would be an effort to raise South Financial’s lagging stock price. Shareholders will vote on the proposed amendment at the May 18 annual meeting in Greenville.
At the same time, the board will ask shareholders to approve an amendment to set the number of authorized shares of common stock at 1.35 billion shares.
South Financial has lost more than $1.3 billion since the beginning of 2008.
Townes, born in Greenville on July 28, 1915, and brother-in-law Arthur Leonard Schawlow received the patent on March 22, 1960.
Four years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics with N. G. Basov and Aleksandr Prokhorov for contributions to fundamental work in quantum electronics leading to the development of the maser and laser.
In 1958, Townes and Schawlow showed theoretically that masers could be made to operate in the optical and infrared region and proposed how this could be accomplished in particular systems.
Their work resulted in a joint paper on optical and infrared masers, or lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).
Townes attended Furman University and earned degrees in Physics and Modern Languages, graduating summa cum laude in 1935 at the age of 19.
Physics had fascinated him since his first course in the subject during his sophomore year in college because of its “beautifully logical structure.”
Townes completed work for the Master of Arts in Physics at Duke University in 1936, and then entered graduate school at the California Institute of Technology, where he received the Ph.D. in 1939 with a thesis on isotope separation and nuclear spins.
A member of the technical staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1933 to 1947, Townes worked extensively during World War II in designing radar bombing systems and has a number of patents in related technology.
He later turned his attention to applying the microwave technique of wartime radar research to spectroscopy, which he foresaw as providing a powerful new tool for the study of the structure of atoms and molecules and as a potential new basis for controlling electromagnetic waves.
At Columbia University beginning in 1948, he continued research in microwave physics, particularly studying the interactions between microwaves and molecules, and using microwave spectra for the study of the structure of molecules, atoms and nuclei.
In 1951, Townes conceived the idea of the maser, and a few months later he and his associates began working on a device using ammonia gas as the active medium. In early 1954, the first amplification and generation of electromagnetic waves by stimulated emission were obtained.
Townes and his students coined the word “maser” for this device, which is an acronym for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
From 1959 to 1961, he was on leave of absence from Columbia University to serve as vice president and director of research of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D.C.
Townes later taught at MIT, the University of California, the University of Paris, the University of Tokyo, the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan.
He’s also been a member and vice chairman of the Science Advisory Committee to the President of the U.S., Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the first human landing on the moon, and chairman of the Defense Department’s Committee on the MX missile. He also served on the board of General Motors.
In 1980, Townes was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Science and Technology.