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The Private 150: Bigger But Leaner

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Articles - July/August 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014


This year's Private 150 achieved solid growth, with most sectors showing an upsurge in revenues as the economy enters a gradual recovery.

Two companies entered the top 10 that were not on the list last year: Forest City Trading Group (No. 2) of Portland and Les Schwab Tire Centers (No. 5) of Bend. Hoffman Corporation, a general contractor, was knocked into the No. 3 spot from second place last year. Portland-based manufacturer ESCO Corporation fell to No. 8 from the No. 5 spot in 2013. EPIC Aviation, which was No. 6 last year, moved down to No. 11, with Knowledge Universe-United States, an early education provider, taking the No. 6 position on this year's list. JELD-WEN, a door and window manufacturer, remained in the No. 1 spot of the Private 150, where it has been since 1996.

The construction industry dominates this year's list, with 20 companies represented, followed by manufacturing at 16 and auto sales at 15. More modern sectors are also gaining ground. Software and technology firms had 10 companies making the list this year, up 150% from 2013. Retail companies went up by 56%, manufacturing by 14% and auto sales by 15%.

The biggest decline is in forest products. The troubled sector, which is starting to rebound as the economy recovers, has 10 companies in the Private 150, down by 33% from 2013.

Twenty companies that were not on the roster in 2013 made it onto the list this year. Newcomers include Portland-based commercial landowner Menashe Properties (150) and the 124-year-old paint manufacturer and retailer Miller Paint (95).

Some firms fell off the lineup this year because of bankruptcy. Aircraft operator Evergreen Aviation, which ranked No. 10 in 2013, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on December 31, 2013. C&K Market, a grocery chain serving customers in rural Oregon and Northern California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November after finding it hard to compete with larger grocery stores. The company, which maintains two-thirds of its 60 stores while it restructures debt, ranked No. 19 last year.

Fifteen companies climbed 10 or more spots. The biggest advancer is Bookbyte, an online retailer of new and used textbooks. The Salem company, which offers college students the opportunity to rent textbooks and sell books for cash, moved to No. 79 from No. 115 in 2013.

 Total revenue for this year's 150 companies was $36.8 billion, an 8% increase over last year's. Average revenue was $245 million, an 8% increase over last year. The Private 150 includes companies that did not make it onto the list last year, as well as four companies that are ranked based on last year's revenue figures. So for a more accurate picture of revenue growth over the past two years, we looked at total revenue growth for the 126 companies for which we have figures from the past two years. For companies in this group, total revenue grew by 4%.

Software and technology had the strongest revenue growth of all sectors in the Private 150, increasing by 20% compared with 2013. Forest products grew by 18%, retail grew by 10%, auto sales by 7% and manufacturing by 2%. Construction was the worst-performing industry, with revenue declining by 6%.

Women constitute only 6% of senior executives in this year's Private 150, proving a glass ceiling is still entrenched for women holding senior positions in the for-profit sector.

This year's Private 150 provided 46,323 jobs in Oregon and 129,283 total. The number of Oregon employees declined by 3.4% over last year, a sign that businesses in the state continue to slim their workforces despite the economic recovery. But Oregon's unemployment rate in the private sector is improving. Since April 2013, the private sector has added 41,000 jobs in Oregon, a 3% gain, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Construction added 8,000 jobs, an 11% gain. Professional services and business services added 8,500 jobs, a 4% increase. As the economy improves, Oregon's largest private companies may be encouraged to start adding to their workforces once again.

The Private 150 is compiled based on a confidential survey of annual revenue Oregon Business sends out to hundreds of private for-profit companies headquartered in Oregon. Those that respond are ranked by annual revenue without revealing actual figures. Go to www.oregonbusiness.com/p150_update to submit your company for the list.


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