The Top 10 Business Stories of 2010

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 12:00 am  

First-quarter sales were $397.5 million, down 1 percent from the same period a year earlier. But profits for the quarter were up $7 million year over year.

Stronger demand led the company to beat estimates for the second quarter, in which sales were up 14 percent over the previous year. Improvements continued for the third quarter, with Baldor nearly doubling quarterly net income year over year and setting a record operating margin.

In August, Baldor CEO John A. McFarland announced his plan to retire on Dec. 31.

On Nov. 30, Baldor announced its sale to ABB. Under the terms of the agreement, unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors, publicly traded ABB agreed to pay $63.50 per share in cash. That's a 41 percent premium over Baldor's Nov. 29 closing price of $44.99.

The company's single largest investor is its employees' profit-sharing plan. Based on the number of shares in Baldor's most recent proxy, those shares are now worth a total of $227 million in the sale.

McFarland owns 247,118 shares, not including unexercised options, which are now worth about $15.7 million.

McFarland said in an announcement that he would stay on "to support a successful integration." Ronald E. Tucker, Baldor's current president and COO and designated successor to McFarland, will run Baldor, including the mechanical power transmission products business and ABB's motor and generator business in North America, after the transaction is completed.

ABB said it would retain the Baldor brand, the company's Fort Smith headquarters and its management. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Baldor is the seventh-largest publicly traded company in Arkansas by revenue, with $1.52 billion in sales in 2009 and $1.95 billion in 2008. It employs about 7,000 people in various locations in the U.S., Canada, England, Mexico and China.

8. After Alltel
When the sale of Alltel Corp. to Verizon Wireless was announced back in June 2008, there was, understandably, a great deal of worry about the effect that the loss of high-paying jobs might have on Little Rock's economy.

To be sure, a good number of people lost their jobs as a result of the $28.1 billion sale, but 2010 saw many of them continuing their careers in telecom or going on to start new ventures in other fields.

Former Alltel exec Frank O'Mara is doing a bit of both. He and fellow Alltel alum Gary Taylor opened a running supply store in the Heights called Go! Running.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.