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2 Banks Join Arkansas Business’ Largest Private Companies List

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(Corrections have been made to this article. See end for details.)

The 75 largest private companies in Arkansas generated total revenue — self-reported and estimated — of $34.3 billion in their most recent fiscal years, up more than 4 percent in a year.

The price of entry to this year’s list of the 75 largest private companies in the state was up as well: $100 million, compared with $84 million on last year’s list.

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As usual, Stephens Inc. of Little Rock is at the top of the list with the same revenue estimate for 2015 as in 2014 and 2013: $2.25 billion. It is undoubtedly the least reliable number of the list, but Stephens Inc. has always played its cards close to the vest and has never participated in the survey.

In that way, the investment bank is in the minority of the companies on the list. For most of the companies on the list — 64 of 75 — the revenue figures listed were either volunteered or otherwise reported publicly. The rest are estimates and are footnoted as such.

While there were changes in position, the only company to drop out of last year’s top 10 was E-Z Mart Inc., which is actually headquartered on the Texas side of Texarkana. It dropped from No. 8 to No. 12 with sales off 20 percent in 2015.

Results were even worse for other fuel sellers as pump prices collapsed. Sales at Coulson Oil Co. of North Little Rock were off more than 28 percent, and it dropped from No. 20 to No. 27. At Summerwood Partners LLC, the Bryant company that does business as Big Red Stores, sales were off 24 percent. Flash Market Inc. of West Memphis ended the year relatively unscathed; its sales were off only 8 percent and its ranking remained steady at No. 11.

Douglas Cos. Inc. of Conway wholesales non-fuel merchandise — candy and the like — to convenience stores, and its sales improved by 7 percent to $222 million as drivers paid less for fuel.

For the poultry industry, sales were flat in 2015. No. 5 Simmons Foods Inc. of Siloam Springs and No. 9 George’s Inc. of Springdale reported the same round figures for 2015 as they had for 2014: $1.4 billion and $950 million respectively. No. 39 Ozark Mountain Poultry was flat at $250 million. At Mountaire Corp., which has only 39 of its 6,250 employees in Arkansas, sales were off less than 3 percent.


For the first time, privately owned banks have been included in the list of the largest private companies. Traditionally, Arkansas Business has ranked banks by assets, deposits and return on equity, but has not included them in this list because revenue is not a typical metric for ranking banks.

After consulting with bankers and accountants, Arkansas Business adopted a formula to arrive at a bank’s revenue: total interest income plus non-interest income as reported to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for 2015. (Banks often subtract interest expenses when reporting revenue, but this is not comparable to the way other companies on the list typically calculate revenue.)

Using this revenue formula, two privately owned bank holding companies were added to the list: Arvest Bank Group of Rogers, the highest ranking newcomer at No. 13, and First Security Bancorp of Searcy, No. 44.

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Arvest, owned by the Walton family, volunteered its holding company revenue figure of $820.6 million. First Security Bancorp, owned by Reynie Rutledge, declined to give a revenue figure for its Crews & Associates bond brokerage subsidiary and is ranked by total revenue to the First Security Bank alone ($223.4 million).

Another newcomer is No. 54 Bad Boy Inc. of Batesville, the 19-year-old manufacturer of mowers, rotary cutters and accessories that undoubtedly should have been on the list for several years; and

Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock returns to the list at No. 71, having bounced back with 2015 revenue that was nearly double 2014’s total.

Making Room

Making room for the two banking companies, Bad Boy and Clark Contractors means four other companies had to leave the top 75. One of the four, Anthony Forest Products Co. of El Dorado, is no longer eligible for inclusion because it now has out-of-state owners. It was sold last year to Canfor Corp. of Vancouver.

Three others dropped off the list because their reported or estimated revenue didn’t reach the top 75: Parker Automotive Group of Little Rock, Russell Chevrolet of Sherwood and Multi-Craft Contractors Inc. of Springdale.

29th Annual List of Arkansas’ Largest Private Companies

Arkansas Business introduced its annual list of the state’s largest private companies in 1988 and continues that tradition this week.

The list originally sought to find the 50 largest companies that are owned and headquartered in Arkansas, but it was expanded to 75 companies in 1996. The list seeks to be comprehensive and authoritative, but the very privacy of the private companies means that it has never been either.

Practically every year we discover companies that should have been on the list in previous years. There are undoubtedly companies that belong on this list that we haven’t identified, and others consistently decline to share their top-line revenue figure, which is the number used to rank the list.

Some 120 companies were surveyed for this year’s list. Of the 75 that made the final cut, 64 either volunteered revenue data or reported it publicly. The rest are estimates and are footnoted as such.

If you know of a company that should be on the list, or comes close and should be surveyed for future lists, please contact Editor Gwen Moritz at (501) 372-1443 or GMoritz@ABPG.com.

(Corrections, June 2, 2016: The original story incorrectly reported that Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. of Arkansas Inc. had merged with an out-of-state company and was therefore no longer eligible for the list. A merger that had been contemplated was ultimately abandoned, and Farm Bureau Mutual remains Arkansas-owned and Arkansas-based. Returning it to the list, at No. 47 with $201.5 million in revenue in 2015, moved each company below that point down a spot in the rankings and bumped off the company that had been in No. 75 position: Benton Properties Inc. of Springdale, a Sonic franchisee that had sales of $95 million in 2015.)

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