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Arkansas' elite: roster of state's top 50 privately held companies slow to change.

The Arkansas Business Top 50, an annual list of the state's largest privately held corporations, hasn't changed much since its inception five years ago.

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith, No. 1 for the third year in a row, will surrender the top position next year due to the May announcement that the company is again going public. The motor carrier reported $849 million in gross revenues in 1991.

Another Top 10 member will be missing from the list next year. The Phillips Cos., the Bentonville retail grocer that is ranked No. 9, was sold in November to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, a publicly held company.

There was some subtle shifting of positions, but only two new members made this year's Top 10.

One of the additions to the Top 10 is SF Services Inc., a regional farm supply cooperative based in North Little Rock. The company jumped five places to No. 7.

Following the March 1991 acquisition of MFC Services of Madison, Miss., the company reported $316 million in 1991 gross revenues. That's an almost 60 percent increase over the previous year.

SF Services once was known as the Southern Farmers Association. It operates feed mills and seed plants in addition to supplying oils, tires, batteries, etc.

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. passed Jones Truck Lines Inc. for the No. 10 spot on the list. The cooperative, headquartered at Little Rock, provides wholesale electricity to rural electric distribution cooperatives. The cooperatives serve 62 percent of the state's land area and about 320,000 residents, farms, businesses and industries.

In mid-1991, AECC entered into a contract to furnish Mississippi County Electric Cooperative Inc. electric power for a steel mill constructed by the Nucor Corp. near Blytheville. The contract should mean increased revenues for 1992.

New To The Top 50

A company that just missed making the Top 50 last year, USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren, made the cut this year with 1991 gross revenues of $52.5 million. However, don't look for the motor carrier on next year's list. The company announced in March that it was going public.

Acquisitions and mergers that took place in 1990 and 1991 were reflected in the increased gross revenues of several corporations.

The McLarty Cos. reported a substantial increase in gross revenues following the purchase of North Point Ford and North Point Hyundai of North Little Rock from the bankrupt estate of Moore Management Group. The dealerships had been operated as One Moore Ford and One Moore Hyundai until Moore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 1991, listing about $12 million in debts.

Pace Industries Inc. of Fayetteville merged with Pace Industries Cast-Tech Division Inc. of Monroe City, Mo. The company then acquired Latrobe Die-Casting Co. of Latrobe, Pa.

Pace, which manufactures aluminum die castings, reported 1991 gross revenues of $118 million, compared with $90 million in 1990.
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Author:Fleisch, Shelley
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jul 13, 1992
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