Top Private: Many top private companies in region post gains


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Recession? What recession?

That could very well be the reaction of the region's top private companies to the news that the economy still is sputtering along in the first quarter of 2012.

While President Barack Obama, a Democrat, wrestles with ways to keep a lid on gasoline prices and get the economy rolling again, many of the region's top private businesses are doing quite nicely, thank you very much.

Six firms hit more than a billion dollars in revenue last year. That's two fewer than 2010, but only because Tube City and GNC became public companies last year. The Reed Smith law firm fell less than $7 million short of the $1 billion mark after posting a $35.1 million increase in revenue.

Overall, most private firms posted gains last year, although you might not want to brag about that to the local lumber companies, which saw their revenues drop.

O'Hara-based grocer Giant Eagle posted the biggest gain, increasing revenue by $700 million to $9.3 billion to easily retain the top spot on the list of the region's largest private companies.

Westinghouse Electric of Cranberry again claimed the second spot with $5.2 billion in revenue, up $500 million from 2010.

Another company posting a whopping gain last year was Hunter Truck Sales and Service of Butler, which saw its revenue shoot up $225.7 million to $534.5 million, enabling it to climb 10 spots on the chart into the Top 10.

Mark Rollinson of Hunter attributed the big jump to an "overall return in business" and the growing oil and gas industry in the region.

Although gasoline prices keep rising -- who in the Middle East had indigestion this week? -- they don't appear to be dampening automobile sales. Or maybe a lot of motorists are trading in gas guzzlers for smaller compacts.

After a $56 million jump in revenue in 2010, Monroeville-based #1 Cochran generated a $45.6 million increase last year, bringing total revenue to $460.4 million. Kenny Ross of North Huntingdon reported $364.3 million in revenue, up $25 million. And Day Automotive, also of Monroeville, saw its revenue climb $27.7 million to $344.4 million.

Another big gainer was Southpointe roofing and flooring company Centimark, which increased its revenue by $98.9 million to $462.8 million, jumping three spots on the chart.

Lumber and building supply companies, however, did not fare nearly as well.

One of the biggest, 84 Lumber of Eighty-Four, saw its revenue drop $20 million to $1.43 billion last year after posting a gain in 2010. Swissvale's Babcock Lumber generated $94.9 million last year, $4.8 million less than in 2010. The revenue of West Mifflin-based Snavely Forest Products tumbled $17 million to $118 million.

While none of the major sports teams brought home a championship in 2011, they had good years in the boardroom.

After an entertaining first half of the baseball season, the Pirates reverted to their old ways in the second half but managed to increase revenue by $15 million to $145 million, according to estimates by Forbes Magazine.

The Steelers generated an estimated $255 million in revenue last year, giving the NFL team a $12 million gain over 2010. Revenue for the Penguins hockey team jumped by $19 million to $110 million.


Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262. First Published March 20, 2012 4:00 AM


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