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THE TIMES 100: THE BEST COMPANIES IN CALIFORNIA : GROWTH : NEAR MISSES : Many Fast-Growing Firms Didn't Quite Make List Because of Size, IPO Date

April 24, 1988|CARLA LAZZARESCHI | Times Staff Writer

What? A California corporate growth chart heavily laden with high-tech companies that doesn't include Sun Microsystems, Adobe Systems or Oracle Systems? What gives?

The simple answer is that these companies, and dozens more fast-growing California companies, were not included on The Times Growth 100 list because they are either too small (most recent annual sales of less than $30 million) or because they became publicly traded only within the past three years.

Sun, Adobe and Oracle were all excluded from the list because they had their initial public stock offerings after 1985. Otherwise, all three would not only have made the list, but also have made the top 10 of the Growth 100.

Sun, the young Mountain View computer workstation manufacturer, posted sales of $537.5 million in its 1987 fiscal year, 156% higher than the year before. Its two-year average annual sales growth rate--the measure used for The Times Growth 100--was 119%.

Likewise, Adobe Systems, the Mountain View publisher of software for desktop publishing. The company, which had sales last year of $39.3 million, grew at the annual rate of 197% in the past two years.

Oracle Systems, a Belmont publisher of database management software, has enjoyed 90% average annual growth during the past two years. Last year, the company had sales of about $187 million.

And other companies that did not make the list this year stand a fair chance of qualifying in the future. Chips & Technologies, a San Jose maker of computer chips, posted sales of $80.2 million in 1987, 531% higher than the year before. Komag, a Milpitas manufacturer of high-capacity data storage disks for personal computers, is yet another example. Last year, the company had sales of $47.2 million, up 142% from the year before.

Another company that analysts say bears watching is Andros Analyzers, a small, publicly traded Berkeley manufacturer of gas diasnostic equipment for the automotive and medical markets.

The company's average annual growth rate of about 20% over the last two years was sufficient to have earned it a spot on The Times' list of the 100 fastest growing California companies. However, Andros' revenues, $16 million in 1987, did not meet the minimum $30-million requirement.

But Andros is trying. The company's story begins in 1969 with a half dozen or so scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories who believed they were on to a hot new technology for analyzing carbon emissions. Eight years and five presidents later, Andros launched its first product: a carbon dioxide measurement unit to test auto emissions.

"Until then, the company was basically blessed with good science, but frustrated at not being able to turn it into a commercial product," says George Schapiro, Andros'president since 1976. The carbon testing equipment was doing well in its tiny automotive niche when Andros learned that a research team of anesthesiologists from Harvard University had released a study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. recommending that all patients undergoing general anesthesiology be monitored for the carbon dioxide content on their breaths. Andros knew it had another market for its spohisticated gas monitoring devices.

FAST TRACK TO PROFIT

2-year avg. 1987 annual profit income Rank Company growth % ($ millions) 1 Homestake Mining 273 146.407 2 Amdahl Corp. 161 141.985 3 Franklin Resources 111 58.895 4 Atlantic Richfield 92 1,224.000 5 Apple Computer 96 217.496 6 Tandem Computers 76 105.604 7 Transamerica Corp. 76 351.178 8 First Amer. Fin.-Calif. 72 39.111 9 Raychem 62 73.599 10 GlenFed 60 131.440 11 Ashton-Tate 59 40.891 12 Potlatch 56 87.673 13 Walt Disney Co. 51 392.300 14 American President Cos. 144 79.100 15 The Gap 50 69.595 16 Kaufman & Broad 42 60.567 17 Calmat Co. 43 78.072 18 Great Am. First Svgs. Bank 49 88.000 19 Wyse Technology 35 22.729 20 Computer Sciences 30 40.500 21 Homestead Financial 64 24.651 22 Shaklee Corp. 27 21.900 23 Price Co. 26 73.324 24 Far West Financial 27 25.547 25 Sumitomo 26 20.400

1986 income Rank ($ millions) 1 23.296 2 24.406 3 13.454 4 333.000 5 61.223 6 34.374 7 116.069 8 14.035 9 28.253 10 51.425 11 16.567 12 37.669 13 173.491 14 38.486 15 34.437 16 30.091 17 40.502 18 45.666 19 12.592 20 23.948 21 15.093 22 13.600 23 45.963 24 16.054 25 12.900

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