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Roth’s 20th Investor Event’s Gonna Rock

Work all day, rock all night.

This week, Newport Beach-based investment bank Roth Capital Partners LLC hopes to thrill investors and analysts at its 20th annual growth stock conference.

But this isn’t your typical Wall Street event.

Known as much for its fast-paced schedule of investor presentations as it is for the nightly rock concerts, the event has been a hit with East Coast attendees looking for a break from winter weather.

Headlining this year is 1980s rock band The Cult and punk poppers Good Charlotte, along with 330 presenting companies.

Nearly 3,000 are expected to attend the annual bash at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Monday through Thursday.

The event helps put Roth, a small regional brokerage, on the map, said Gordon McBean, its director of research.

“This is what people know us by,” he said.

The hope is that the hedge funds and mutual funds attending will use Roth as a broker for their stock trades.

Roth brokers trade in small public companies. It also helps companies get financing through private investment in public equity deals.

Investments in Chinese companies have been a growing business for Roth and make up a quarter of its business.

At the conference, 330 companies are set to make presentations, a record number as Chinese and Indian companies are added to the mix.

Presentations from special purpose acquisition companies,set up to buy other companies,are also popular, McBean said.

Each presenter gets about a half hour to talk about his or her company.

One-on-one interviews with management also take place with analysts and investors looking for their next big idea, McBean said.


Local Attendees

About 20 of the presenters will be Orange County companies.

In his fourth year presenting, Heath Clarke, chief executive of Irvine-based Internet advertising company Local.com Corp., said the event allows him to educate people.

“Our objective is to make potential investors who may be interested in our sector aware of new information, and of our company,” he said.

Local.com runs a Web site that helps people search for local businesses.

Clarke plans to discuss Local.com’s 2008 outlook and growth strategy.

With many companies, including Local.com, reporting their earnings around the same time, the event makes for a “crazy” time of year, according to McBean.

The cost of the event runs into the millions, McBean said.

“We gotta do a heck of a lot of work to make them happy,” he said.

Roth’s bashes have featured a wide range of entertainment through the years.

Last year Otis Day helped spur on an “Animal House”-style toga party, and rapper Ludacris tore up a “Moulin Rouge”-themed set.

In previous years, Snoop Dog, The Pussycat Dolls and Black Eyed Peas performed.

Some of the bigger OC companies attending are: Huntington Beach-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc., Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Alsio Viejo-based Smith Micro Software Inc., Lake Forest-based I-Flow Corp. and San Clemente-based ICU Medical Inc.

Other locals presenting are: Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc., Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., Iteris Inc., Jazz Technologies Inc., Wet Seal Inc. and CNS Response Inc.

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