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MICHIGAN'S FASTEST-GROWING FIRMS FOUND

 DETROIT, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A Detroit special events and training firm that grew more than 66-fold during the past five years is Michigan's fastest-growing, privately held company, according to the ninth annual installment of the Michigan Private 100. The study ranks the state's 100 fastest-growing, privately held companies each year by revenue growth rates.
 A & M Logistix earned the standing as Michigan's fastest-growing company with its 103.5 percent five-year compound annual rate of revenue growth. The five-year-old firm's revenues grew to $8.6 million in fiscal 1993 from just $129,000 in 1989.
 A & M Logistix and the 99 other companies from throughout the state in this year's Michigan Private 100 contributed almost $1.4 billion to the state's economy in 1993, an almost four-fold increase of the $372 million they produced in combined 1989 revenues. The companies also created 7,500 new jobs from the end of 1989 through 1993, reported the study co-sponsored by the Michigan offices of regional brokerage firm Roney & Co., the Detroit public and financial relations firm of Durocher-Dixson-Werba and media co-sponsors The Detroit News and radio station WWJ.
 "The collective performance of the Michigan Private 100 companies reflects the economic acceleration of the entire state," said John C. Donnelly, co-director of Roney & Co.'s corporate finance department and a co-author of the study. "The combined revenue gains of this year's Michigan Private 100 companies is 60 percent higher than the $608.4 million revenue increase produced by the 100 companies ranked last year."
 The study reported that not since the 1988 rankings six years ago have the Private 100 companies generated more than 7,000 new jobs during their respective five-year survey periods. And not since the 1989 survey have aggregate revenue increases been as high as they are this year.
 In further contrast, just 12 of Michigan's 174 publicly traded companies grew at rates high enough to have earned ranking in the Private 100 had they been privately held, Donnelly said.
 Study co-author James Penman, co-director of corporate finance at Roney & Co., noted that the growth shared by the Private 100 companies has added vitality to a state economy that only recently began to see a Big Three-led upturn.
 "Growing in good times is one thing," he said. "Growing in tough times is quite another. This year's Private 100 companies have done both over the last five years."
 A & M Logistix is one of six newcomers to the study's Top 10. Finishing behind the special events firm as the second- through fifth- fastest growing Michigan Private 100 companies this year were three newcomers and one returning company:
 -- Lakeshore Diversified Products, a plastic injection molding manufacturer based in Spring Lake just east of Grand Haven, made its debut with a five-year compound annual rate of revenue growth of 78 percent. Its sales increased to $6.9 million in 1993 from $193,000 in 1989.
 -- Staffing, a Grand Rapids supplemental staffing and human resource services firm, earned the third spot in its premiere appearance with a 76.3 percent annual growth rate on sales that increased from $512,000 in 1989 to $11.6 million in 1993.
 -- Landmark Technologies, based in Benton Harbor, joined the rankings for the first time, placing fourth with a 75.25 percent compound annual growth rate since 1989. The custom environmental services provider increased its revenues from $173,000 in 1989 to $3.4 million in 1993.
 -- The 1/2 Off Card Shop, a Southfield-based retail chain of gifts, party supplies and greeting cards, ranked fifth this year on the heels of its first-place finish last year. It had a 73.65 percent annual growth rate on revenues that grew to $25.3 million in 1993 from $1.4 million in 1989.
 Rounding out the Top 10 this year are two other newcomers and three veterans of the study. Bloomfield Hills' Flexible Plan Investments maintained the sixth spot it held last year, with a 69.22 percent growth rate. Thomas' of Ludington makes its debut in the seventh spot with a 66.25 percent growth rate. Rock Financial, of Bingham Farms, makes its fourth consecutive appearance in the Private 100 with a 62.95 percent compound annual revenue growth rate, continuing a steady climb that began in the 74th position in the 1991 rankings. PTC Enterprises/Chirco Title, of St. Clair Shores, makes the rankings for the first time as the ninth-fastest-growing company with a 62.7 percent growth rate. And 10th-ranked Grand Air Express, of Monroe, makes its second appearance, down from the fifth spot in last year's survey, with a 62.62 percent five-year compound annual growth rate.
 While 31 companies are making their first appearances in the Michigan Private 100, and another 62 have appeared up to four times, there is a core group of companies that have sustained growth rates strong enough to make the rankings six and -- in one case -- eight times, said study co-author Donald P. Durocher, principal of the Durocher-Dixson-Werba public relations firm.
 Detroit-based Brian Unlimited Distribution (BUDCO), a direct marketing and distribution company founded in 1960, has appeared in all but the first installment of the Private 100, Durocher said. It joined the rankings in 1987 as the 43rd-fastest-growing company, and has ranked no lower than this year's 75th spot, secured with a 24.83 percent growth rate. During its eight years in the Private 100, BUDCO has grown from revenues of $607,000 in 1982 to 1993 revenues of $27.8 million.
 "BUDCO is an annual reminder that for every rule there is an exception," Durocher said. "Here's a company in its third decade of business that keeps growing like a startup company."
 Two companies are making their sixth consecutive appearances in the Michigan Private 100: Southfield's PPOM and Novi's Intelligent Controls.
 PPOM, a preferred provider organization founded in 1982, joined the Private 100 in 1989 as the state's second-fastest-growing company. Its growth has tapered off gradually since achieving the top spot in 1990, coming in this year at number 42 with a 33.42 percent growth rate. PPOM has grown 216-fold since 1984, from sales of $101,000 then to 1993 sales of $21.9 million.
 Intelligent Controls, an engineering services and electronic engine controls company also founded in 1982, ranked 65th this year with a 27.95 percent compound annual revenue growth rate. Since 1984, the company has grown 59-fold, from $256,000 in sales to $15.2 million.
 As in past years, younger companies tend to dominate the Michigan Private 100. Of the 100 ranked, 56 were founded in or after 1985; another 27 were founded between 1980 and 1984.
 The oldest company in the rankings is 58th-ranked Brooklyn Products, a Brooklyn-based auto trim components company making its second appearance in the Michigan Private 100 in its 43rd year of business. Only slightly younger is Waterford's Pontiac Coil, founded in 1954. Ranked 63rd, the solenoid and related components manufacturer also is making its second appearance.
 Ypsilanti's American International Airways, ranked 88th, is the highest-revenue company, with 1993 sales of $209.6 million, ever to earn ranking in the Michigan Private 100. The smallest this year is 93rd- ranked Word Pictures, of Warren, with sales of just more than $1 million.
 The largest employer is Gainey Corp., of Grand Rapids, which added 1,289 new jobs from 1990 through 1993 to its year-end total of 1,711 employees. At the other end of the spectrum is Bay City's Bay Cast Technologies, which has held constant since 1989 with five employees.
 Michigan Private 100 companies generally tend to be smaller, closer in size to Bay Cast Technologies than Gainey. Of the 100 ranked, 66 had 25 or fewer employees in 1989, while 73 had 30 or fewer and 84 had 50 or fewer.
 This year's Private 100 companies are scattered across the state -- from Bronson, just north of the Indiana border, to Ishpeming, just south of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. And from Monroe, on the west shore of Lake Erie, to Manistee, on the east shore of Lake Michigan.
 The tri-county Detroit area is home to the most Michigan private 100 companies -- 61 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Oakland County leads the way with 36. Among cities, Grand Rapids is home to the most companies -- eight are headquartered there -- followed closely by Detroit with seven, and Ann Arbor and Troy with five each.
 Service and manufacturing companies accounted for more than half of the Michigan Private 100, contributing 33 and 26 companies, respectively, to the rankings. The types of businesses are extremely diverse -- services ranging from mortgage and title work to trucking and air transport; sales of automobiles to latex gloves; and manufacturing of woven polypropylene bulk bags to electronics assemblies.
 To qualify for the Michigan Private 100, companies had to be privately held and Michigan-based, with full-year fiscal 1989 net sales of at least $100,000 and fiscal 1993 sales of at least $1 million. Five full years of net revenue and full-time employee figures had to be submitted and verified by a company officer and the company's accounting firm.
 The rankings do not include companies that might have had better growth records during the five-year period, but opted not to participate in the Private 100. And while many businesses screened themselves out from submitting information for ranking because they had not at least doubled their net sales since 1989, more than 150 companies submitted information.
 -0- 4/18/94
 /CONTACT: Mike Chapp or Don Durocher of Durocher-Dixson-Werba, 313-259-7414; or John Donnelly or James Penman of Roney & Co., 313-963-6700/


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ML -- DE010 -- 8779 04/18/94 11:29 EDT
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