"Just because we are the world's largest on a combined basis doesn't mean we are the largest in every country that we are in," Mr. Claure told Hispanic Business when his company topped the Hispanic Business 500 in June. "In the U.S., we are No. 2. We are No. 3 or No. 4 in a lot of Asian and European countries." He intends to make Brightstar No. 1 in every country where the company does business.
Bill Bernardo, CEO of Illinois-based Ebco Inc., a supplier of rubber and plastic vibration isolators and seals, returned recently from a trip to The Netherlands, Ireland, and England. "What astonished me is that America is now considered a 'low-cost' country," he says. "I find that phenomenal, but it is the type of thing you learn from traveling. When it came to negotiate contracts, I found Europeans adamant when it came to buying in dollars. This was their way of guaranteeing themselves a good deal."
For Miami-based Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc., whose roots are in Florida, business opportunities have sprung up sporadically in Latin America, but the company's real focus is now a half-world away at ports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (See related story on Page 48).
"No company has the luxury of defining itself too narrowly," says Ray Fernandez, who oversees architecture at the firm's New York office. "Economies change and we, like everyone else, have learned to adapt."
Location, Location, Location
The majority of the top Hispanic-owned exporters are monitoring the world from a key location – Florida.
Companies from the Sunshine State continue to dominate our list, although there were four fewer Florida companies this year (23) than last. Still, the $3.5 billion in exporting revenues from Florida account for 92 percent of the total exporting revenues on the list, thanks in large part to Brightstar.
Texas was second on this list with six companies, while California and Illinois tied for third with four apiece. (SEE By State Chart below.)
The rest of the Top 50 suggests new trends as other states made rare appearances, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, and Arizona. There are 15 states represented this year, compared to 10 last year.
Only one company in our top eight – HUSCO International of Waukesha, Wisconsin – is located outside of Florida. HUSCO, a manufacturer of hydraulics and electrohydraulics used for vehicles in the building infrastructure, maintained its No. 3 spot on the list, and its $100 million in export sales, by continuing to do almost half of its business abroad
A weak dollar has helped European sales and research and development costs, much of it incurred in India, "but it's also a problem when we want to purchase components abroad," says Jim Gannon, HUSCO's CFO and executive vice-president.
The wholesale sector is the overwhelming leader on the list, claiming 23 of the 50 companies and accounting for 92 percent of the total exporting revenues for the list. (SEE By Sector Chart below.)
The makeup of the Top 50 Exporters, compared to last year's list, shows many similarities. Most notably, the top four companies – Brightstar, Quirch Foods, HUSCO, and Precision Trading – finished in the same order. Among all the companies on this year's list, on average 46.8 percent of their revenues came from exports, essentially even with the previous year's 45.6 percent. But growth in overall export sales revenue was down, from the 58.6 percent seen between 2004 and 2005 to 42.6 percent from 2005 to 2006.
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