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The Times 100 : The Best Performing Companies in California : INDUSTRY REPORT : Many of the Biggest Names Are Conspicuously Absent : A lot of the state's highest-profile corporations, agencies and institutions weren't eligible for inclusion in The Times' survey.


Don't feel like a small fry just because your firm failed to make The Times' lists of most profitable and largest companies.

Some of California's largest employers and best-known institutions--including Levi Strauss & Co., Carnation, Kaiser Permanente and the University of California--didn't make the list, either.

The survey for The Times 100 supplement was limited to California-based, publicly owned corporations. That excludes the countless privately owned firms, public agencies, nonprofit organizations and corporations based out of state, all of which play a major role in the California economy.

In fact, the largest employer in the five-county Los Angeles area is Los Angeles County itself, with 78,000 workers. The City of Los Angeles payroll includes 41,000 employees, and 11,000 work for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

"Government in Southern California has gotten to be real big business," said Jack Kyser, economist for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "It surprises people because they don't grasp how big it all is."

Education is also big business. The Los Angeles Unified School District employs nearly 60,000, and USC has 14,000. The nine-campus University of California has more than 122,000 employees on its $3-billion-a-year payroll. That makes it about twice as large as Times 100 employment leader Pacific Telesis, which has 66,200 employees in the state.

Many hospitals and health-care plans--such as Delta Dental Plan, with $568 million in revenue--also fall into the nonprofit group. Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland-based health maintenance organization with $4.5 billion in revenue, is big enough to be included among the top 25 California firms ranked by revenue.

Privately owned firms are also no weaklings.

The 1989 Forbes list of the 400 largest private U.S. companies includes more than 30 California firms with annual revenue of $500 million or more.

Oakland-based Safeway Stores, which went private in 1986 to avoid a takeover and is again planning a public stock offering, would have taken the No. 4 spot on The Sales 100 with 1989 revenue of $14.3 billion.

Across the bay in San Francisco, engineering and construction giant Bechtel Group would have weighed in among the top 25 revenue leaders, with $4.5 billion.

San Francisco is also home to two major, privately owned apparel firms: Levi Straus & Co., with about $3.1 billion in sales, and Esprit de Corp., which has about $750 million in sales.

In Orange County, private real estate developers such as William Lyon Cos., with $1.4 billion in revenue, and Irvine Co., with $540 million, would easily make the county's list of sales leaders.

San Diego-based Foodmaker, which owns Jack-in-the-Box and other restaurants, has about $1.1 billion in sales and is the largest privately owned firm in the area, according to Forbes.

Many of the state's large agricultural cooperatives are private. Sunkist Growers, a cooperative of 6,000 citrus growers in California and Arizona, reported sales of $931 million for the year ended Oct. 31, 1989.

Many corporations, from airlines to computer makers, headquartered outside California are also big players in the state economy. Hughes Aircraft, a subsidiary of General Motors Corp., is the second-largest private employer in Southern California. Hughes employs more than 50,000 statewide.

Chicago-based Sears, Roebuck & Co. employs 14,000 in Southern California, and another 14,000 work for Target and Mervyn's, which are owned by Minneapolis-based Dayton Hudson Corp.

For many California workers, the home office is in Tokyo or London. Los Angeles-based Carnation Co. is owned by Nestle of Switzerland. Baskin-Robbins is headquartered in Glendale but is owned by a London firm. Santa Fe International, an Alhambra engineering firm with $500 million in revenue, is owned by Kuwait Petroleum. American Honda employs about 2,600 people in the Los Angeles area.

All told, companies based in Pacific Rim nations employ about 66,000 Los Angeles-area residents, Kyser said.

"These out-of-state companies start to loom large over the Southland economy," he said.


Companies by sector

Percent of companies by industry of 830 surveyed. Retail: 3% Utilities: 1% Aerospace & Defense: 2% Energy: 3% Entertainment & Leisure: 7% Financial Service: 12% High Tech: 32% Other: 40%

Revenue by sector

Percent of $405.6 billion in 1989 (vs. $372.6 billion in 1988) for all 830 companies.

Retail: 6% (5.1%) Utilities: 6% (6%) Aerospace & Defense: 9% (10.6%) Energy: 19% (19.5%) Entertainment & Leisure: 4% (4.3%) Financial Service: 20% (20%) High Tech: 14% (12.7%) Other: 22% (21.8%)

Profits by sector

Percent of $16.2 billion in 1989 (vs. $19.7 billion in 1988) for all 830 firms.

Retail: 2% (1.8%) Utilities: 13% (6.7%) Aerospace & Defense: 7% (9.4%) Energy: 19% (20%) Entertainment & Leisure: 9% (6.3%) Financial Service: 13% (22.3%) High Tech: 14% (14.1%) Other: 23% (19.4%)

Employees by sector

Percent of 2.48 million employees worldwide in 1989 (vs. 2.45 million in 1988) for all 830 firms.

Retail: 8% (6.9%) Utilities: 4% (3.7%) Aerospace & Defense: 14% (14.9%) Energy: 6% (6.3%) Entertainment & Leisure: 8% (8.5%) Financial Service: 11% (11.4%) High Tech: 19% (17.9%) Other: 30% (30.4%)

Figures in parentheses are for 1988


Profits by sector, in billions of dollars. 1989 total: $16.2 1988 total: $19.7


Revenue by sector, in billions of dollars. 1989 total: $405.6 1988 total: $372.6

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