Pursuing A Strategic Vision

B.E. 100s CEOs are focused on maintainingtheir competitive edge today, while positioningtheir companies for tomorrow's opportunities

be distinguished by its best showing to date. Total sales for the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 and the BE AUTO DEALER 100 combined were $14.11 in 1996, an increase from $13.09 billion in 1995. And, for the first time, 17 BE 100s companies surpassed the $100 million mark. There still remains, however, only one member of the billion-dollar club: BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list leader TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. Last year, by comparison, the revenues of the Fortune 500 firms grew 8.3% to $5,077 billion.

The number of people employed by the nation’s largest black-owned industrial/service companies and the auto dealerships increased by 8.2%, from 51,057 in 1995 to 55,242 in 1996. Last year, 46,034 employees were on the payrolls of the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 companies–an 8.61% increase from 1995–and 9,208 received paychecks from the BE AUTO DEALER 100–a 6.19% hike from the previous year. And, for the third consecutive year, every company among the BE 100s top 10 employment leaders (see chart) had at least 1,000 people on its payroll.

The nation’s largest black-owned industrial/service companies posted revenues of $8.18 billion in 1996, a 10.58% increase over 1995 sales. The top five sectors on the INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list include auto dealers, food and beverage, media, technology and manufacturing.

As in past years, the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 was highlighted by significant departures and arrivals. Sixteen companies have dropped from the list. Newcomers include West Palm Beach, Florida-based Convenience Corp. of America (CCA), which gained a berth among the top 10 industrial/service companies with sales of $137.3 million.

What fueled CCA’s financial performance? Slurpees and gas, among other items. CCA happens to be the second largest 7-Eleven licensee in the nation, operating 150 convenience stores and gasoline stations. “We realized the value of associating ourselves with the leader in the convenience store industry,” says Leslie M. Corley, CEO of CCA and LM Capital Corp., the black-owned investment bank that acquired the licensing rights from Southland Corp., the mammoth retailing operation that owns 7-Eleven.

Another new arrival seems a bit familiar. Actually, Fair Oaks Farms Inc., Kenosha, Wisconsin-based meat processing operation (No. 48 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 with $42.67 million in sales), emerged from a former BE 100 company, Brooks Sausage. David Duerson, a former NFL defensive bad acquired 51% of the concern from OSI Industries Inc., a white-owned food distributor. OSI purchased Brooks Sausage a McDonald’s Corp. food supplies ranked No. 48 on the 1994 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100, just four months before it struck the deal with Duerson (For profiles of new BE 100s companies see “Freshman Class of ’97,” this issue.) The emergence of these new BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE companies has provided a significant boost to the combined sales growth of the list. Total sales for the 16 new companies on the 1997 list was $726.12 million.

For the past three years, the same five companies have landed at the top of the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list. New York’s TLC Beatrice International retains numero uno status with sales of $2.23 billion. The Chicago-based Johnson

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