A fall from Forbes' 'Super 50' list

April 02, 1991|By Chicago Tribune

General Motors Corp., the company that wears the Fortune 500 crown, has been dumped unceremoniously from rival Forbes magazine's "Super 50" list of the most powerful American companies.

The April 29 issues of both magazines, due on newsstands next week, are awash with lists offering a statistical portrait of American business.

The numbers and rankings reflect the onset of recession last year. Half of the 500 industrial companies on the Fortune list posted losses in 1990 or sharp earnings declines from 1989.

Among them was mighty GM, which lost nearly $2 billion, despite sales of about $125 billion. So, Forbes dropped GM from its list of 50 strongest companies, based on a compilation of earnings, sales, assets and market value. Last year, GM led the Forbes nifty 50 list; this year, the distinction goes to General Electric Co.

Joining GM as rejects from the latest Forbes Top 50 list were Westinghouse Electric Co. and Xerox Corp.

GM stayed atop the Fortune 500 industrial rankings, based on annual sales, for another year, though its sales dropped slightly from 1989. Oil giant Exxon Corp. rose to No. 2 this year from No. 3, with a 22 percent increase in sales, to $106 billion, in 1990.

Ford Motor Co. slipped to No. 3 from No. 2 on the Fortune 500 list. Chrysler Corp. fell three spots to No. 11.

Three firms from the Baltimore metropolitan area made Fortune's list:

* Black & Decker Corp. of Towson rose to No. 107, from 141.

* Crown Central Petroleum Corp. of Baltimore moved to No. 208, up from 279.

* McCormick & Co. climbed to No. 288, from 299.

New York remained the top city for corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, with 41; Chicago was second with 20 and Houston was third with 14. New York headed the state rankings, too, with 59 Fortune 500 companies' headquarters.

International Business Machines Corp., which earned just over $6 billion last year, topped Forbes' list of 500 companies ranked by profits. The company with the most assets, according to another Forbes ranking, was Citicorp, with $217 billion. Exxon Corp., with a 25 percent gain in market value (shares outstanding times share price on March 22) to $72 billion, led a Forbes list of market value.

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