Reinvention Through Innovation

Despite the sluggish economy, a number of B.E. 100S companies are winning the battle for market share and profits by retooling their enterprises

share Mercado-Valdes’ gambler’s instincts focused on efficiency. Take Mays Chemical Co. Inc. (No. 22 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $165 million in gross sales), which had to contend with an oil crisis brought on by the war in Iraq, turmoil in Nigeria, and the prolonged Venezuelan oil strike. Although between 25% and 30% of the chemicals and raw materials the company distributes are insurance in force, premium income, annuity income, net investment income, statutory reserves, and surplus. The top 10 insurance companies on our list sell individual and/or group life insurance policies. (No institution that is strictly in the business of selling property and casualty insurance has been included.) In compiling the list, we received surveys from these institutions, consulted the rating services, state regulatory agencies, and industry associations.

B.E. Investment Banks
An investment bank must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. The top 10 investment banks compiled on our list engage in such activities as underwriting, initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions (M&A), retail brokerage, institutional research and sales, and financial advisory services. A firm’s financial status is measured in terms of total dollar amount of senior, co-senior, and co-managed issues derived from the underwriting of municipal, corporate and agency bonds, mortgage- and asset-backed securities, equity underwriting and private placements for the calendar year. We have not included the firm’s syndicate transactions. In addition to receiving surveys from these companies, we consulted the federal and state regulatory agencies, and industry associations.

B.E. Asset Managers
An asset management firm must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. The top 15 firms on our list include those that invest financial assets for individuals and institutions such as the pension funds of government agencies and corporations, and endowments of colleges and universities. (Asset managers who specialize in real estate and other types of investment vehicles or operate hedge funds are not eligible for inclusion on this year’s list.) A firm’s financial status is measured in terms of total dollar amount of managed assets derived from equities, fixed-income and tax-exempt investments, and cash for the calendar year. In addition to receiving surveys from these companies, we consulted the federal and state regulatory agencies and industry associations. All firms on our list must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and have made an annual filing of their assets under management with the SEC at the time of publication.

Private Equity Firms
A private equity firm must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. The leading 10 firms on our list include those that manage funds making equity investments in, and/or providing financing for, established and start-up companies. These investments are made on behalf of the firm and their individual and institutional investors. A firm’s financial status is measured in terms of total capital under management for the calendar year. Additional information provided to BE included a firm’s total

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