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The new 49ers 1993 new horizons.

If slow but steady wins the race, then Alaska's 1993 New 49ers bear the mark of true champions.

Booms and busts routinely blast holes in the state's economy. Without the slow, steady growth that ensures stability, Alaska sometimes seems destined for more roller-coaster business rides. But 1993's New 49ers (based on figures provided for fiscal year 1992) show that perhaps these disastrous economic turns will switch into reverse. Again and again, statistics given by 1993's top 49 Alaskan-owned companies demonstrate that slow, steady growth stands on the state's horizon.

Here's what the facts reveal. In 1993, 26 of the New 49ers reported an average 22 percent gain in revenues, compared to 23 companies posting an overall growth rate of 29 percent in 1992. Only 22 firms listed as 1993 New 49ers reported reduced revenues, compared to 24 companies in last year.

Total revenue for this year's New 49ers stands at $3.2 billion, up from $3.09 billion for 1991. While total employment for 1993's New 49ers fell to 20,479, down from a total workforce of 22,769 in 1991, check out the source: Carr-Gottstein Food Co. Inc. moved off the New 49ers listing because its sale of public stock last summer put majority ownership of the company into the hands of non-Alaskans. Had Carr's remained on the list, total employment for 1992 would have risen to a new high of 23,449.

In addition to Carr's, other companies dropped out of the New 49er listing. Look closer, and again you'll find that the news isn't so bad. Two firms on last year's list chose not to respond this year. Only one company shut down. Two companies were sold and no longer qualified.

Newcomers to this year's top 49 companies represent a broad spectrum of Alaska industry -- a healthy sign of the kind of diversification it takes to ensure good economic times are here to stay. A Native corporation, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp., jumps onto the list as the 15th-largest revenue-producing Alaskan firm.

Other 1993 newcomers include a construction company (Davis Constructors and Engineers Inc.), a car franchise (Anchorage Chrysler Center), a food distributor (Northern Sales Co. of Alaska), an oil and gas drilling outfit (Pool Arctic Alaska), a trucking firm (Carlile Enterprises), and a building products distributor (Kenai Supply Inc.).

Along the lines of diversification, all 49 companies on this year's list reveal a healthy picture of Alaska's increasingly balanced economy.

Representing the state's still strong dependence on oil, VECO International Inc., the major North Slope contractor, once again sits in the No. 1 position as the top revenue-producing, Alaskan-owned company. The only other firm on the list directly related to oil, aside from subsidiaries of Native Corporations, is newcomer Pool Arctic Alaska.

The largest group of businesses on the New 49ers this year are Native corporations -- nine in all. Arctic Slope Regional Corp. with its 16 subsidiaries retains its No. 2 position. Another Native organization, Sealaska Corp., rounds out the top 10, and five more occupy positions in the top 20, a healthy economic sign.

Four seafood companies, representing one of the state's major industries, again made the 1993 New 49er listing. Three financial institutions, two in the top 10, also appear on the list again this year, as did four automotive franchises. Alaska's remote regions continue to pour capital into wholesale distributing companies, as shown by Yukon Express Services Inc., V.F. Grace and Northern Sales Co. of Alaska on the 1992 New 49ers list.

In transportation, four Alaska-owned airlines earned enough profits to remain in the 49er category, as did two truck companies. Only two companies on the list are solely construction firms.

The remaining industries for 1993's New 49ers list include communications, computers, forestry, mining and office supplies firms, as well as restaurant workers, and a whole range of equipment, auto and building products dealers.

To sum it up, just about every industry in Alaska is represented in the 1993 New 49ers. That's not bad when you consider that 85 percent of Alaska's economy is still oil-related.

All in all, 1992's gains look good -- not the extreme highs or lows of boom or bust years, but a gradual spiral upward. Tack 1993's statistics onto the slight gains posted in 1992's New 49ers, and you see an encouraging trend: In the 1990s, Alaska's growth may be slow, but it looks steady.

Here at Alaska Business Monthly, where we've tracked the trends of the state's business for almost a decade, we can only hope this new direction continues. To all the companies who made the New 49ers list in the past, congratulations. To the companies who proved themselves to be the top Alaskan-owned business performers in 1993, keep it up. Your growth may be slow and steady, but companies like yours will win the race.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article; top 49 companies
Author:Woodring, Jeannie
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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