State's Largest Private Companies Book Revenue of $28.6B

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, May. 26, 2008 12:00 am  

(To see the list of the largest private companies in Arkansas, click on the appropriate page number: 1 2 3 4 5 or 6. A spreadsheet version is also available.)

(To see the highs and lows of the top private companies since Arkansas Business began compiling the list in 1995, click here.)

Call it a trailing economic indicator: The price of admission to Arkansas Business' 2008 list of the state's 75 largest private companies dropped 5 percent from 2007.

Truman Arnold Cos., which is actually headquartered on the Texas side of Texarkana, continues to top the list with a modest $50 million increase in revenue during its 2007 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. (Fifty million dollars is modest when your total revenue is pushing $2 billion. And since TAC is in the fuel business, it's safe to expect a much less modest increase in revenue during fiscal 2008.)

Squeaking in at No. 75 is Riverside Furniture Corp. of Fort Smith, which reported $99.5 million in sales during calendar 2007, a 14.2 percent decline from 2006. Declines in revenue weren't unusual last year; at least a quarter of the companies that made the top 75 had negative sales growth in 2007 compared with 2006. And sales declines sent three companies from last year's list - Hytrol Conveyor Co. Inc. of Jonesboro, Carco Capital Inc. of Fort Smith and Latco Inc. of Lincoln - into the category of also-rans.

The rules of engagement for the private companies list are these: The company must be privately owned and headquartered in Arkansas (or on either side of Texarkana). That means that No. 71 American Management Corp. is making its last appearance on the list since it was sold in February to First Mercury Financial Corp. of Southfield, Mich.

It also means that Ranger Boats of Flippin, the subject of a Page 1 feature this week, isn't eligible for the list because it isn't actually owned in Arkansas, and that last year's No. 32 company, Technisource Inc. of Little Rock, was dropped from the list because it was sold to Spherion Corp. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the end of 2007.

Private companies are under no obligation to reveal revenue or employment data, but 64 of the companies that made the list (and many others that didn't reach the cutoff) did so voluntarily. Eleven companies, including Stephens Inc. of Little Rock and the Stephens family holding company, SF Holding Corp., are ranked using estimates or revenue figures reported by other media or research services. Figures that were not provided by the company are footnoted.

The 75 companies represent total reported or estimated revenue of $28.6 billion in 2007, an increase of more than 8 percent from the list's total in 2006. Winners and losers were generally predictable: Petroleum purveyors like Truman Arnold Cos., No. 9 E-Z Mart (also of Texarkana, Texas), No. 20 Coulson Oil Co. of North Little Rock and No. 46 Crackerbox Food Stores of Hot Springs reported significant revenue growth.

The highest-ranked newcomer on the list, at No. 18, is Flash Market Inc. of West Memphis, a chain of convenience stores led by Harold Patterson. It reported $512.7 million in revenue last year and undoubtedly should have been on the list for several years.

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