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Private Firms List Led by Blue Cross

3 min read

Seventeen private companies owned and headquartered in Arkansas are believed to have had revenue of more than $1 billion in 2023.

That’s the same count as last year’s list, although the roster changed slightly.

Travel Nurse Across America, the North Little Rock health care staffing agency that crossed the billion-dollar mark in 2022, has been dropped from the list because it is majority-owned outside the state, and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.’s revenue settled back after two straight years above $1 billion. Meanwhile, Lexicon Inc. of Little Rock, the steel fabricator and contractor, and the rebranded Crain Family Cos. both reached the 10-digit club.

Crain Family Cos. of Little Rock is the successor to Crain Management Group of Sherwood, led by CEO Larry Crain Jr. following the death of his father in April 2023.

The price to make the cutoff for the list of 75 companies was $124 million, the 2023 revenue reported by Kinco Constructors of Little Rock. That compares with $111.5 million last year.

Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Little Rock regained the No. 1 position with revenue of $3.14 billion, a new record for the health insurance carrier and for Arkansas Business’ annual list. ABCBS overtook Mountaire Corp., also of Little Rock, which has confirmed revenue of at least $3 billion for 2021, 2022 and 2023 and held the top spot for the past three years.

ABCBS reported an increase in revenue of nearly 12% despite the state’s well-publicized “redetermination” of tens of thousands of enrollees eligible to have the state buy their private health insurance under the ARHome program (originally known as the “private option”).

“The redetermination of folks in ARHome will probably have a greater impact in 2024 since it took a while for that process to shake out,” Max Greenwood, vice president for government and media affairs, said in an email. “And we did migrate some of those members into the traditional exchange marketplace. We also saw some gains in premiums from increases in our group membership.

“We also saw some increased dollars from federal risk adjustment associated with the ACA products, some as a rollover from 2022 as well as some for 2023 itself.”

In and Out

In addition to Travel Nurse Across America, two other companies have been dropped from the list because they are no longer Arkansas-owned. Summerwood Partners LLC of Bryant, operator of 45 Big Red convenience stores, was acquired in April 2023 by Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. of Laval, Canada, in a $290 million deal. Central Moloney Inc. of Pine Bluff, a 75-year-old transformer manufacturer, was sold in October to Wind Point Partners of Chicago.

Filling the vacancies created by those three departures are these three Little Rock companies, all making their first appearance on the list:

► Garver engineering firm;

► Encore Bancshares Inc., the holding company of Encore Bank; and

► Arkansas Federal Credit Union.

Garver is the highest ranking of the newcomers at No. 44, reporting $294.3 million in revenue in 2023. Revenue data from previous years — $255.3 million in 2022 and $205.4 million in 2021 — indicate that the multistate firm should have been ranked in past years.

Financial institutions have been a growing segment of the largest private companies list since we first added the state’s two largest private banking companies, Arvest Bank Group Inc. of Bentonville and First Security Bancorp of Searcy, to the list in 2016. Their revenue is defined as total interest income plus non-interest income.

No. 56 Encore’s revenue nearly doubled to $206.34 million in 2023 from $104.18 million in 2022, a year in which its assets grew by 12.7% to $4 billion.

Arkansas Federal Credit Union landed at No. 71 with revenue of $139.05 million, up from $105.72 million in 2022.

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