Three Major Firms Drop Off Top 75

Arkansas? three largest private companies remained the same in 1995, but the shakeup after that was dramatic.

Three of the top 15 private companies in the state ? Continental Ozark Inc. of Fayetteville, Crain Industries Inc. of Fort Smith and Landers Auto Sales Inc. of Benton ? were sold last year.

TransMontaigne Oil Co. of Denver acquired Continental Ozark, which had estimated sales of $430 million, in 1995. Crain, with 1,800 employees in 13 states and estimated revenue of $230 million, was sold for a reported $130 million to a Dallas investment company, Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.

United Auto Group Inc. acquired Landers for a reported $40 million. Landers, the top-producing Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-GMC Truck-Jeep-Eagle dealer in the country, had sales of $281 million last year.

Stephens Group Inc., the parent firm of Little Rock investment banker Stephens Inc., is again the state?s largest private company.

Relying on various resources, Arkansas Business estimates the conglomerate?s 1995 revenue at $920 million, up $170 million from the 1994 estimate. But determining precise figures for Stephens is impossible for anyone outside the corporation.

At least in part, Stephens Group consists of Donrey Media Group, which owns newspapers and outdoor advertising operations; Stephens Inc.; Stephens Productions, which includes Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp., a production division and a drilling company; Stephens Holding; and Stephens Diversified Leasing Inc., which leases office machines and furniture.

Stephens Group and the families of Jack Stephens, Warren Stephens and Witt Stephens Jr. also own millions of shares of stock in banking, telecommunications, health care and forestry companies throughout the nation.

One of the biggest increases in revenue came at SF Services Inc., which went from $440 million in 1994 to about $540 million in sales last year. It was the eighth straight year of above-normal growth in sales and market share for SF Services, a regional farm supply cooperative in seven states and with Arkansas offices in North Little Rock.

The acquisition of Delta Purchasing Federation added $8 million to SF Services? sales.

?We?ve continued to experience growth in our farm supply system,? says John Belew, SF Services? director of communications. ?More and more, independent farm supply dealers are going out of business. And our stores remain pretty much the strongest farm supply entity out there. So more and more farmers are turning to them.?

SF Services sells all types of farm supplies, including feed, seed, farm and ranch hardware items, petroleum items, tires, batteries, automobile accessories, chemicals and fertilizers. The cooperative supplies farmers in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Oklahoma and expanded into Kansas this year.

There are five new companies on the list: No. 21 Superior Automotive Group of Fayetteville, No. 28 Frank Fletcher Cos. of Little Rock, No. 52 Lindsey & Associates Inc. of Fayetteville, No. 57 Cross Oil Refining & Marketing Inc. of Smackover and No. 70 Nelms Honda Inc. of Fayetteville.

In all, seven companies fell off the list from last year. In addition to Continental Ozark, Crain Industries and Landers, the others were Arkansas Oklahoma Gas, Adams Land Co., Chenal Buick Inc. and Mad Butcher Inc. Southland Marketing Inc., Ron Crawford?s Conway firm that had $52 million in sales last year, just missed making this year?s list.

Because of ties, there were actually 77 companies on last year?s list.

Headline for small chart: Top 75 Companies

1995 Total Revenue $13.14 billion

1995 Total Employees 69,426

1994 Total Revenue $12.37 billion

1994 Total Employees 68,887

PUT THIS INDEX IN SMALL TYPE

Headline: Top 75

Private Companies Index

Company Rank

A

Affiliated Foods Southwest Inc. 7

Allen Canning Co. 18

Anthony Timberlands Inc. 31

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield 5

Arkansas Children?s Hospital Inc. 24

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. 9

B

Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. 73

Bale Chevrolet 41

Baptist Health 8

E.C. Barton & Co. 52

Harry Blackwell-Roger Baldwin Co. 68

C

Camden News Publishing Co. 31

Carco Transportation Systems Inc. 42

Carroll Electric Cooperative Corp. 72

CDI Contractors Inc. 13

Cooper Communities Inc. 37

Coulson Oil Inc. 57

Crain Management Group 43

Cross Oil Refining & Marketing Inc. 57

D

Daymark Foods Inc. 47

Dyke Industries Inc. 50

F

Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. of Arkansas 56

First Electric Cooperative Corp. 66

Frank Fletcher Cos. 28

Forrest City Grocery Co. 29

G

George?s Inc. 33

Harold Gwatney Chevrolet 14

H

H&H Marketing 44

Harps Food Stores Inc. 12

Harvest Foods Inc. 6

Hatfield Lumber Co. 62

Haygood Limited Partnership 38

Hytrol Conveyor Co. 65

J

Jefferson Hospital Association Inc. 30

Jones Toyota-Volvo Inc. 57

K

K-Mac Enterprises Inc. 64

L

Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. 25

Lindsey & Associates Inc. 52

Little Rock Dodge 38

M

McLarty Management Cos. 11

Mississippi County Electric Cooperative Inc. 67

Mountaire Corp. 21

Munro & Co. 27

N

Nabholz Construction Corp. 26

National Florist Directory Inc. 22

Nelms Honda Inc. 70

Northwest Arkansas Paper Co. 74

Northwest Medical Center 69

O

O.K. Industries 3

P

Pace Industries Inc. 17

Parker Cos. 61

Peterson Industries Inc. 23

Petit Jean Poultry Inc. 33

Producers Rice Mill 16

Q

Quality Foods Inc. 15

R

Replacement Parts Inc. 62

Riceland Foods Inc. 2

Ridout Lumber Cos. of Arkansas 51

J.A. Riggs Tractor Co. 38

Riverside Furniture Corp. 46

Russell Chevrolet-Honda 52

S

St. Bernard?s Regional Medical Center 49

Schmieding Enterprises Inc. 52

Service Chevrolet 70

SF Services Inc. 4

Simmons Foods Inc. 10

Sparks Regional Medical Center 48

SSI Inc. 75

Stephens Group Inc. 1

Superior Automotive Group 20

T

A. Tenenbaum Co. 19

Town & Country Supermarkets of Hardy Inc. 36

Trans-States Lines Inc. 57

V

Vratsinas Construction Co. 35

W

Washington Regional Medical Center 45