Texarkana's Truman Arnold Cos. Off Largest Private Companies List After Execs Move to Dallas

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, May. 20, 2013 12:00 am  

(Photo by Wayne DePriest)

The former editor of Arkansas Business who decided to include businesses on either side of Texarkana on the list of Arkansas’ largest private companies probably never considered the problems that would cause when one on the Texas side took the top spot.

Truman Arnold Cos. worked its way up to No. 1 for the first time in 2001 and held that position most years since then. But this year, TAC has been dropped completely at the company’s request since the senior management and sales and marketing functions have been moved from Texarkana to Dallas.

Another company headquartered on the Texas side of Texarkana remains on the list: No. 8 E-Z Mart Inc., which was founded in Arkansas — in Nashville, in Howard County, to be precise — in 1970.

(Purchase the Full List: Click here to buy the list of the 75 Largest Private Companies in PDF or spreadsheet format.)

The loss of TAC plays havoc with year-to-year revenue comparisons for the top 75 companies: While most of the companies on the list reported increased revenue — some very large increases — losing Truman Arnold Co.’s $3 billion means the total of all 75 companies slipped from almost $32 billion to barely $30 billion. And the void left by TAC and a couple of other notable companies dropped the cutoff for making the list from $80 million in 2011 revenue to $76 million in 2012.

The departure of TAC leaves the No. 1 spot on the list to Stephens Inc. of Little Rock. We’ve continued to estimate the famously secretive investment firm’s annual revenue at $1.835 billion, the most recent estimate by The Gale Group, although it’s probably the most questionable number on the entire list.

And it is only an eyelash ahead of the second-place company, Mountaire Corp. of Little Rock, which reported $1.824 billion in revenue in the fiscal year that ended on Oct. 31. That’s an increase of more than 30 percent from fiscal 2011 for the integrated producer of poultry products, which has most of its operations in Delaware and North Carolina. Of 6,000 employees of the company owned and led by Ronald M. Cameron, only 37 are in Arkansas.

Mountaire was one of eight companies that voluntarily reported revenue of more than $1 billion — including commodities transporter Bruce Oakley Inc. of North Little Rock, which moved from No. 13 to No. 9 with a stunning increase of 48 percent in revenue for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 25.

(To see the largest private companies in Arkansas through the years, click here.)

Other Changes

Besides Truman Arnold Cos., four other companies that were on last year’s list are missing this year. They are:

• Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc., the parent company of USA Drug, which was sold in September 2012 to publicly traded Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, Ill., for $438 million. Although Drug Chain News has estimated the LaFrance company’s revenue at $1.08 billion, an estimate used by Arkansas Business for the private companies list last year, Walgreen revealed that its actual revenue was about $825 million, which moved it to No. 11 when the list was revised.



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