Shares of Commerce furniture manufacturer Nova Lifestyle Inc. could soon be traded on Nasdaq. The company this month applied for listing on the exchange, a move executives said that they had been planning for at least a year.

Nova operates furniture manufacturing plants in China, making products for its own stores in that country, as well as for Swedish retailer Ikea International Group. It also manufactures luxury latex-foam mattresses in Commerce for export to China, with the goal of cashing in on Chinese consumers’ suspicion of shoddily made domestic products.

The company went public through a reverse merger in 2011 and now trades over the counter. Nova shares closed at $4.43 on Aug. 14, up 8 percent from the previous week and more than 70 percent from a year ago.

Last year, Yuen Ching Ho, Nova’s chief financial officer, told the Business Journal that he hoped to get Nova listed on the Nasdaq by the second quarter of this year.

He said listing on a major exchange instead of trading over the counter was the right move for the company.

“If we can be on the Nasdaq, it will raise our company to a higher level so more people would know us,” Ho said last year. “More people would be confident in buying our product.”

Though a bit behind that schedule, Nova shares could hit the exchange in about a month. The firm submitted its listing application Aug. 5 and decisions usually take six weeks or less.

Nova has been growing quickly and last year reported revenue of $66 million. Its market cap stands at $81 million, spread over more than 18 million shares outstanding. With those figures, the company could meet financial requirements for listing on at least the lowest of the Nasdaq’s three market tiers, the Nasdaq Capital Market, formerly called the small-cap market.

Earlier this year, Nova named more board members to join Ho, President Tawny Lam and Chief Executive Ya Ming Wong. The company also created audit and compensation committees, all to comply with Nasdaq requirements.

Bakersfield Buyout

Miracle Mile asset manager Renewable Resources Group Inc. boosted its agricultural holdings last week when it purchased Bakersfield farming company Sun World International LLC.

Sun World grows peppers, grapes, apricots and other fruit on more than 10,000 acres of farmland. It also licenses hybrid fruit crops to growers worldwide.

Renewable Resources Group bought Sun World from another asset manager, Black Diamond Capital Management LLC of Greenwich, Conn. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the value of farmland in the Central Valley has soared lately, boosted by growing demand for fruits and nuts.

Michael Schuil, a land broker with Visalia real estate firm Schuil & Associates, said farmland can sell for as much as $25,000 an acre if it’s planted with high-value crops and has access to a steady water supply.

As prices climb, Schuil said more investors from outside the Central Valley are buying.

“The majority of purchasers are still local farmers, but we are seeing more funds and institutional investors than we ever have,” he said.

Executives at Sun World and Renewable Resources did not return calls for comment. In a statement, the companies noted that they have done business before: Two years ago, Renewable Resources bought 4,000 acres of farmland near Blythe from Sun World.

“It’s a company we’ve watched and respected for a long time,” Ari Swiller, Renewable Resource’s president, said in a statement.

Fund Closed

West L.A. investment manager Crescent Capital Group LP this month closed its latest fund with commitments of $3.4 billion, well above its initial goal of $2.5 billion.

The fund, Crescent Mezzanine Partners VI, will offer mezzanine debt to private equity firms and management teams for leveraged buyouts, acquisitions and other financings.

In a statement, Crescent executives said the mezzanine fund will target investments in private equity-controlled companies worth at least $250 million. It is Crescent’s largest mezzanine fund to date.

C-Suite News

Jacqueline Akerblom has been named west region managing partner of Chicago accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton LLP. She will oversee 11 offices in the western United States. She remains managing partner of the firm’s three Southern California offices.

Staff reporter James Rufus Koren can be reached at jrkoren@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

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