VCC Gaining on Nabholz on Commercial Contractors List

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, May. 27, 2013 12:00 am  

William Clark, Clark Contractors. (Photo by Jason Burt)

The top two commercial contractors in Arkansas were still head and shoulders above the rest, but No. 2 VCC of Little Rock nearly caught up with No. 1 Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway in 2012.

VCC reported revenue of $525 million last year, an increase of $75 million over 2011. Meanwhile, Nabholz’s revenue was down about $7 million to $537 million in its last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Instead of a $94 million gap between the two, as was recorded in 2011, the $12 million difference represented about only 2 percent of sales.

CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock, which had numbers in the half-billion range during the construction boom of the late 2000s, was nowhere near that level last year. But it did post a 27.3 percent increase in the fiscal year that ended for parent company Dillard’s Inc. on Feb. 2 of this year.

That pushed it into the No. 3 spot on Arkansas Business’ annual list of the largest commercial contractors based in Arkansas.

(Get the List: Click here to see the list of the state's largest commercial contractors in PDF or spreadsheet format. Also: Get the list of electrical subcontractors and the list of mechanical subcontractors.)

CDI’s total revenue of $136.2 million included more than $32 million worth of work done specifically for Dillard’s, but its outside work increased by almost 50 percent, from $69.7 million in fiscal 2011 to $103.8 million in fiscal 2012.

That bump in revenue went hand-in-hand with improved profitability for CDI, which, as a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly traded company, is the only commercial contractor on the list whose profitability is available.

According to the Dillard’s annual report, CDI had profit of $5.3 million on the $103.8 million worth of non-Dillard’s work, a margin of 5.1 percent. That compares favorably with a construction margin of 1.6 percent in 2011. (But construction is far less profitable than Dillard’s retail operations, where the margin was 36.1 percent last year and above 35 percent for each of the previous two years.)

And business for CDI, led by President and CEO Lloyd Garrison, seems to be picking up.

“We believe we will continue to see some sales growth in the construction segment during fiscal 2013; however, there is no guarantee of improved sales performance,” Dillard’s revealed in its annual report. “The backlog of awarded construction contracts at February 2, 2013 totaled $159.3 million.”

And that was before April 29, when the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission selected a partnership between CDI and Hunt Construction Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., as contractor for the renovation of the Robinson Center Music Hall.

While the scope of the renovation has not been finalized and construction will not begin until 2014, the price tag has been estimated at between $50 million and $65 million.



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