All told, the energy sector year-over-year revenues in 2009 plummeted 51.5 percent.
Yet the depth of energy's fall is a little misleading.
This is because energy's performance in 2008 was unusually strong, due to a gravity-defying spike in oil prices during the first half of that year.
In last year's 500 edition, energy was the only industry in which all of the sector's top 10 companies posted higher revenues than the year before.
In 2009, the opposite occurred: energy was the only industry in which each of the top 10 firms posted negative growth.
Reflective of the trend in 2009 was Venoco, a Denver, Colorado-based oil and gas exploration company operating primarily in California. Venoco saw revenue plunge by more than 50 percent to just over $272 million. But the year before, its revenues had surged 47 percent. So Veneco is essentially back to where it was in 2007.
Still, this year's plunge for Veneco was enough to dislodge the company from first place in the energy sector and drop it down below new leader Urbieta Oil. Based in Medley, Florida, the distribution company also had a poor year though its revenue decline was "only" 38 percent, enough to leave it just ahead of the field.
For the second time in a row, manufacturing had a tough year, and 2009 was even worse than 2008.
The industry's year-over-year revenues tumbled 16.7 percent in 2009; in 2008, they fell 10.8 percent.
Hit hard were companies like The Ideal Group, based in Detroit, Mich. The Ideal group for years has been a major supplier to GM, and many times has won that company's Supplier of the Year award.
But as GM has struggled, so too has The Ideal Group, which has experienced a far from ideal revenue decline of 45 percent, dropping the company from the 500's fifth largest manufacturing company to the 10th.
HUSCO International, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of hydraulic and electrohydraulic controls for the off-highway and automotive markets, , took an even bigger hit with revenue from hydraulics slumping almost 48 percent.
It wasn't all bad news for the sector, however.
The best percentage gain in revenue came from Gusto Packing Co., in Montgomery, Ill., where sales of meat products jumped almost 43 percent to $194 million. That was enough to bump Gusto up from seventh place last year into fourth.
There were equally wild swings among the top three companies. Steep losses from Lopez Foods (meat products, down almost 43 percent) and The Diez Group (steel, down 39 percent) enabled Mexican food manufacturer Ruiz Foods, with an 11 percent increase, to slip through into first place.
With revenue of around $2.7 billion, Brightstar Corp. is in a league of its own in the wholesale sector. Even so, 2009 was not a great year for the Miami-based company's sales and distribution services to the wireless and IT industries.
The telecommunications giant saw revenue slide almost 23 percent from last year's $3.5 billion – the largest percentage drop among the leading 10 companies in this sector.
Meanwhile, the entire sector saw revenues plunge by 16.7 percent in 2009. That comes after an 11 percent drop in 2008.
The contraction is intricately linked to the fortunes of Brightstar, whose annual revenues make up nearly half of the entire sector's total revenues, which in 2009 amounted to $5.9 billion. The combined revenues of 61 companies make up the other half.
Frozen food distribution company Quirch Foods had a better year, losing just 4 percent of revenue to settle at an even half billion dollars and maintain second place.
The best result among wholesalers came from one of the six Florida-based companies in the sector's top 10, Precision Trading Corp., of Miami Gardens, whose electronic distribution business boosted earnings by 11 percent.
The Zaid Group, wholesalers of Hispanic food products out of Atlanta, GA., also performed well (up almost 6 percent) as did newcomers Tire Group International, of Miami, whose 3 percent rise to $70.5 million carried them into 10th place.
Transportation, the smallest sector on the HispanicBusiness 500, had a difficult year in 2009.
The industry, which includes mostly trucking and shipping companies, saw revenues slide by a third from 2008, from $432 million to $288 million.
However, the sector -- whose revenues comprise just 1 percent of the entire HispanicBusiness 500 -- experienced an 18 percent boost in 2008, so the extent of this year's drop is a little misleading.
With just 18 companies on the directory, transportation's top 10 firms actually make up a slim majority of the sector. That top 10 has a new look with four companies missing from last year. Most prominent of the four replacements is Mile Square Transportation, a school bus company from Yonkers, New York, which vaulted into third place with revenue of $30 million, a tidy 7 percent increase over 2008.
That was only $1 million shy of second-placed La Rosa Del Monte Express, from the Bronx, and $9 million behind the sector's top performer, Public Special Commodities, based in Mira Loma, . California.
Pan American Express, headquartered in Laredo, Texas, held onto fourth place despite a gnarly year, which saw the interstate carrier's revenue slump 29 percent, to just below $21 million.
On the plus side, Leticia Inc., based in Hillside, New Jersey, made more than $15 million hauling excavated material, a nice increase of 14 percent, while J. L. Patterson & Associates, of Orange, CA., also finished 2009 with a slight earnings uptick.
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