Magazine article Black Enterprise

Fighting to Win: 34th Annual Report on the Nation's Largest Black-Owned Business

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Fighting to Win: 34th Annual Report on the Nation's Largest Black-Owned Business

Article excerpt

Champions. Contenders. Down For the Count. These categories best characterize the companies that constitute the BE 100S--the nation's largest black-owned businesses. One common trait they all share is a fighting spirit.

These enterprises--from the top-ranked black industrial/ service companies to the leading African American financial services firms--all fought for revenue growth, market share, and improved profitability in a rough-and-tumble business arena. They've had to protect their companies against the shocks of war, escalating oil prices, rising interest rates, no-holds-barred competition, and life-altering natural disasters. Of these, Hurricane Katrina presented the greatest difficulty. Most companies met the challenge by fine-tuning their business models through acquisitions and divestitures, strategic partnerships, development of new lines of commerce, and recruitment of A-list management talent.

Despite the poor performance of the domestic automotive industry, which hurt legions of black auto dealers and suppliers, sales for the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 and BE AUTO DEALER 100 indicated a significant increase. These BE 100S companies produced a 13% increase in combined revenues, up from $23.2 billion in 2004 to $26.3 billion in 2005. In fact, the sales growth leader was Troy, Michigan-based automotive supplier TAG Holdings L.L.C. (No. 14 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list), which showed a 230% boost in sales, from $103 million in 2004 to $340 million in 2005. Between the two lists, 27 companies grossed more than $200 million in revenues and, for the first time in black business history, three posted more than $1 billion in revenues: World Wide Technology and CAMAC International--the list leaders on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100--and Prestige Automotive--No. 1 on the BE AUTO DEALER 100 list. "We showed growth across all of our sectors," says David Steward, CEO of WWT, which produced revenues of $1.85 billion. "Next year, we will exceed $2 billion in revenues, and I'm not just being bullish." If Steward's claim holds true, WWT will be the second black-owned business in history to break the $2 billion barrier. The first was TLC Beatrice International Holdings exactly a decade ago.

In addition, as a group, our industrial/service companies and auto dealers slightly expanded their employee ranks. …

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