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OC’s Largest Private Companies See 3.1% Sales Increase

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Orange County’s largest private companies kept chugging along in 2019 when they increased their revenue. The county’s 41 biggest private firms together had total revenue around $87.9 billion, a respectable 3.1% increase.

Next year’s list? Wait and see, as firms scramble to reinvent—and in some cases, expand—their operations to deal with COVID-19’s impact.

The Business Journal’s latest list includes those with at least $500 million in annual sales.

Moving from second to first place this year is Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology Corp., which reported $12.8 billion in sales. The maker of memory chips this year included revenue from previously undisclosed line of work (see separate story, page 16).

Pacific Life Insurance Co. fell to No. 2, although its revenue increased a healthy 15% to $12.3 billion. The Newport Beach-based company, famous for its advertisements of whales jumping out of the ocean, recently sold its airplane leasing unit, Aviation Capital Group, to minority stockholder Tokyo Century Corp. for an estimated $3 billion. That unit, commonly known as ACG, has an estimated revenue of $1.1 billion in 2019, thus making its debut at No. 19.

The biggest revenue gainer percentage wise was 62% to $581.1 million at Irvine’s Kofax Inc., which last year closed on a reported $400 million all-cash buy of the imaging division of Nuance Communications Inc. Kofax ranks No. 37 on the list.

Another big gainer was No. 32 New American Funding, a Tustin-based mortgage originator owned by husband and wife Rick and Patty Arvielo. Its revenue increased 38% to $630.5 million.

Larger rival loanDepot.com LLC of Foothill Ranch had an estimated $1.3 billion, good for the No. 16 spot. Founder and Chief Executive Anthony Hsieh predicted revenue may surge 50% to more than $2 billion this year because interest rates have fallen so much (see separate article, page 1).

Another significant revenue gain was 17% to $1.6 billion at No. 13 Newport Beach’s Alliant Insurance Services Inc. Tom Corbett, who became CEO in 1994, has built the firm to become the world’s 10th-largest insurance broker.

No. 14 Pacific Dental Services of Irvine reported a 15% jump to $1.6 billion. Founder and Chief Executive Stephen Thorne last month told the Business Journal that his company, which supplies back-office services to dental practices, was on track to hit $2 billion this year before the coronavirus struck. He estimated the company will be “happy” to reach $1 billion this year because the coronavirus at one point shut down an estimated 95% of the nation’s dental practices.

Other companies will undoubtedly see lower revenue in 2021 due to COVID-19 issues, such as Irvine’s Fitness International LLC, operator of the LA Fitness chain. The Business Journal estimated its 2019 revenue climbed 4.7% to $2.2 billion, No. 11 on the list.

Allied’s Job Jump

The biggest firms employed about 38,000 in Orange County, a 1% gain from a year ago. They continue to grow faster outside the county, reporting a companywide gain of 5.4%, or 467,036. On last year’s list, local jobs grew 3% while companywide growth was 13%.

About half of that companywide employee count can be attributed to Santa Ana’s Allied Universal, the nation’s largest provider of security guards with about 235,000 employees, a 9.3% increase. It’s looking to add another 30,000 jobs in the next few months.

No. 3 Allied Universal reported revenue of $7.4 billion as of Dec. 31, a 28% gain largely aided by acquisitions, as well as organic growth. Chief Executive Steve Jones in April estimated revenue will hit about $8.5 billion this year.

Other Notables:

• Irvine-based Golden State Foods Corp. fell from No. 3 to No. 5 with revenue estimated at $5 billion. In late 2018, it sold a third of its 27 food distribution centers.

• The Automobile Club of Southern California in Costa Mesa stayed at No. 4 as sales climbed almost 1% to $6.7 billion. It reported 2018 sales rose 11%.

• Alignment Healthcare of Orange jumped from No. 36 to No. 27 by an estimated 35% boost in revenue to $805 million. Founder and Chief Executive John Kao in March told the Business Journal that his company, which sells Medicare Advantage insurance plans, was on pace to top $1 billion in sales this year.

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.

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