The scales tipped slightly in favor of 2012 revenue gainers among the nine construction/real estate firms on this year’s list of the 75 largest private companies in Arkansas.
Five out of nine firms reported improved revenue.
None experienced more growth than Clark Contractors LLC, which savored a 125.7 percent increase in revenue during 2012.
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That growth drove the Little Rock general contracting firm’s revenue total to $104.3 million and a first-time appearance on the list at No. 66.
“We had a record year,” said CEO William Clark. “We had a lot of good projects hit at the same time. Health care and education are still driving the boat.
“We won’t do quite as much revenue in 2013. But some projects we’re chasing could get us there.”
Clark also noted that hotel work has picked back up after a post-2008 falloff in that sector and the return to the scene of a smattering of corporate jobs.
Baldwin & Shell Construction Co., an Arkansas-only general contractor, endured a 34.9 percent drop in revenue last year.
CEO Bob Shell said commercial construction in general was down around the state, which he attributed to a lack of confidence in the economy and uncertainty regarding tax issues.
“A lot of people were sitting on the sidelines, just waiting and watching,” Shell said. “We’re not seeing as much medical, manufacturing or retail work. It just hasn’t picked back up.”
However, he expects revenue this year to improve and surpass the 2012 total of $98.7 million (No. 69 on this year’s list). “2014 and 2015 are shaping up to be really good years,” Shell said.
Tom Schueck, chairman and CEO of Lexicon Inc. (No. 31), credited “really big jobs” in the Houston area’s petrochemical complex for powering a 41.7 percent increase in revenue last year.
He’s uncertain if his steel fabrication, engineering and construction company will be able to match that $326.5 million performance in 2013.
“It’s a tough year for the first quarter, but we have a lot of things working, mostly in the energy sector,” Schueck said. “But we don’t know how it’s going to work out.”