Given the beating that sales suffered at most U.S. companies during 2009, it’s no surprise our annual ranking of the state’s top private companies showed strains. Revenue fell an average of 5% but many companies reported dips exceeding 30%. This was a year when companies with 20% revenue declines could still find themselves rise in the rankings.
Last year, with the recession in full swing, five companies topped $1 billion in revenue. In this year’s list, Roseburg Forest Products, Hoffman Corp. and EPIC Aviation fell below that mark, leaving just two in the billion-dollar club: Jeld-Wen and Les Schwab.
North Pacific Group was another casualty from the top. The building products distributor, No. 6 last year, was no longer able to keep creditors at bay and went into receivership in May to liquidate assets. Other prominent companies on last year’s list — including ESCO Corp., Columbia Distributing and Platt Electric Supply — declined or did not respond to requests for their latest annual revenue. Given the choice of many private companies to keep a low profile, there may well be a billion-dollar business out there under our radar, but it’s still discouraging to see the top echelons of the list shrink.
On the encouraging side are the recent IPO announcements by Erickson Air-Crane (which did not respond to our survey) and Tripwire (No. 93), both of Portland. Look for them next year in our August 2011 Public Companies list.
Some retailers and wholesalers had a decent year. Western Family Foods, a Portland grocery distributor, saw an 11% jump in revenue, moving the company from 12 last year, to No. 6. Bi-Mart, Reser’s Fine Foods, Harry & David Holdings, C&K Market, Sherm’s Thunderbird Market and Plaid Pantries all advanced ranks with flat or modest sales declines.
Financial services powerhouse M Financial Group wasn’t so lucky. The Portland firm, which focuses on the ultra-affluent and Fortune 1000 companies, dropped from No. 7 to No. 10. In a dismal year for contracting and construction, Portland’s S.D. Deacon Corp. fell from No. 18 to No. 30. Yet Portland’s Harder Mechanical Contractors managed to grow sales 38%, leaping 20 ranks in the list to this year’s No. 18.
Wood products and building materials also were hit hard. Lumber Products of Tualatin, Swanson Group in Glendale, and Portland-based Tumac Lumber all stumbled in the rankings.
Last year, R2C Group was ranked No. 133 based on net revenue. This year, the Portland advertising agency correctly provided its gross revenue, moving it to No. 25 on the list. The company is thriving by targeting infomercials and other low-budget media on the secondary advertising market.
On average, this year’s Private 150 had $198.1 million in revenue. In total they had $29.7 billion. Just two years ago, these figures were $265.2 million and $39.8 billion. Now that the national economy is slowly growing again, perhaps next year’s numbers will be stronger. THE EDITORS