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Value of Rand Capital holdings increase, thanks to Gemcor

The value of Rand Capital Corp.'s investments rose by 4 percent as the Buffalo venture capital firm's West Seneca aircraft component sales and design firm Gemcor II became more valuable.

Rand valued its investments at $20.2 million, or $3.54 per share, at the end of December, up from $19.4 million, or $3.39 million, at the end of September.

The company also has $2.8 million in cash available for additional investments at a time when many conventional financing sources are reluctant to lend or invest.

"It's a good time to have money," said Pete Grum, Rand's president.

Rand increased the value of its investment in Gemcor by $1.7 million, or 29 cents per share, during the fourth quarter. Rand now values its Gemcor stake at $5.8 million.

"They're having another strong year," Grum said Friday. "There's still a great demand. They're doing a lot of business in foreign markets."

The company also increased the value of its investment in Kionix Inc., an Ithaca maker of motion sensors for cell phones and laptops that had record sales last year, by $778,000, or 14 cents per share, to $2 million.

Those increases more than offset a handful of write-downs in other portions of Rand's portfolio that were hit by the slumping economy and the decline in spending by consumers and businesses, Grum said.

The company reduced the value of its original $607,000 stake in APF Group, a Yonkers company that makes high quality picture frames and framed mirrors that are used in museums and art galleries, by almost half, or nearly $300,000.

Rand also erased the increase it made more than two years ago in the valuation of Georgia boat maker Carolina Skiff. Rand trimmed the value of its take in Carolina Skiff by $227,000, or 17 cents per share, to $1 million.

The company also wrote off the $100,000 that remained on its books from its original $822,000 investment in Amherst wine marketer Wineisit.com. It reduced by a third the value of its original $637,000 stake in Golden Goal, which runs a youth sports tournament park for youth soccer and lacrosse in Fort Ann, N.Y., north of Glens Falls.

During the quarter, Rand invested $667,000 in GridApp Systems, a New York City company that provides database automation services, as well as $250,000 in SOMS Technologies, a Valhalla, N.Y., company that makes an environmentally friendly oil filter.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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