Strong sectors of the economy, acquisitions, and emerging markets and technology drove double-digit revenue increases at several Orange County private companies—including three top-ranked businesses, where revenue totals make bigger bumps harder to come by.
In all, 110 companies are ranked by 2017 revenue; the cutoff is $100 million.
Twenty-two reported revenue jumped at least 10%, including No. 2, Golden State Foods, with a nearly 13% increase to $6.9 billion; No. 4, Automobile Club of Southern California, with 10% growth to $5.9 billion; and No. 5, Allied Universal, with 55% growth to $5.3 billion.
A merger of two private equity-owned security services giants created Santa Ana-based Allied Universal in 2016, giving it four months of combined revenue for last year’s list, when the new national player ranked No. 6. This time, its revenue was $1.9 billion higher.
The increase was more than the annual revenue at 86% of ranked companies.
Golden State Foods in Irvine vaulted back to the No. 2 slot, passing Fountain Valley-based Kingston Technology Co. at $6.7 billion. Golden State, Kingston and No. 1, Pacific Life Insurance Co., have held the top three slots, with some jockeying for position, for nearly a decade.
PacLife grew its top line by $411 million, or about 5% to $9.4 billion, and could approach or best $10 billion this year.
A spokesperson said growth came from its “retirement product lines [and] solid investment results” in PacLife’s general account.
In all, ranked companies generated nearly $96 billion in revenue, up 7%.
The big got bigger, and so did several others. Increases spanned industries from construction to services to food.
Real estate and construction companies with double-digit growth included:
• No. 24, Passco Cos. in Irvine, which ballooned 32% to $901 million.
• No. 40, Olen Properties Corp. in Newport Beach, growing 20% to $524 million.
• No. 46, City Ventures LLC in Irvine, which grew 26% to $457 million.
Passco has been buying Southeast U.S. apartment communities, including three in Florida through mid-2017, when it ranked No. 28 on the list.
Olen’s office deals should be pictured in the dictionary under the “trophy property” entry; in a recent cash-out, it sold the 40-story One South Dearborn in Chicago in February after a 12-year ownership. The asking price was about $400 million.
City Ventures has built infill homes in Santa Ana and Buena Park and other SoCal markets.
Three construction companies and general contractors turned in strong performances, reflecting strength in several real estate market sectors:
• No. 31, KPRS Construction Services Inc. in Brea, which was 35% higher to $602 million.
• No. 52, Millie & Severson Inc. in Los Alamitos, 36% higher to $378 million.
• No. 79, Moorefield Construction Inc. in Santa Ana, 71% higher to $218 million.
Moorefield, nearly 60 years old, worked on redeveloping Edinger Plaza in Huntington Beach and renovating TCL Chinese Theatre—formerly Grauman’s—in Hollywood, among other projects.
Millie & Severson has been in business for more than 70 years. Clients include Anaheim-based Ganahl Lumber—ranked just below its general contractor at No. 53, up 12% to $370 million—and LBA Realty in Irvine.
KPRS is an opportunistic builder in everything from tenant improvements to hotels (see related story, page 1).
Real estate, construction and contracting companies moved up the list from four to 25 places on revenue growth.
Other growth companies:
• No. 38, Smile Brands Inc. in Irvine, up 15% to $535 million.
• No. 41, Budget Blinds, also in Irvine, up 22% to $500 million.
• No. 76, American Technologies Inc. in Orange, up 27% to $241 million.
Smile Brands runs dental practices; ATI does environmental remediation.
Budget Blinds is part of Home Franchise Concepts, which also sells franchises for decorative concrete and home organizing.
Companies not ranked last year that turned in strong performances this time include:
• No. 14, SA Recycling in Orange, up 54% to $1.2 billion.
• No. 54, Kofax Inc. in Irvine, up 28% to $363 million.
• No. 58, CoolSys in Brea, up 34% to $335 million.
• No. 103, West Coast Prime Meats LLC in Brea, up 40% to $116 million.
We’d overlooked SA Recycling, which gives new life to scrap metal.
CoolSys is a private equity-owned, rebranded refrigeration systems provider that has made several follow-on acquisitions in the past two years—including a Wisconsin company in November and a Georgia company in May— along with C-suite hires, including Chief Executive Adam Coffey in 2016 and chief financial and chief operating officers in December.
Kofax comes to the list by way of a private equity carve-out from Lexington, Ky.-based Lexmark, which took the software maker private. Its push into task-automation software is likely part of its revenue growth.
West Coast Prime Meats didn’t make the cut last year—it had $83 million in revenue—but cracks our ranking this year with a healthy leap. It sells steaks to restaurants.