Large public companies aren't feeling recession Profits for region up more than 45%

August 19, 1992|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Profits of the biggest public companies in the Baltimore-Washington region soared in 1991 despite the recession, according to a survey released yesterday by the Washington/Baltimore Regional Association.

Profits jumped more than 45 percent while revenues rose about 6 percent, the annual survey of the area's largest public companies companies found.

The total profits of the 156 public companies reached $8.2 billion last year, up from $5.6 billion in 1990.

Revenues for all regional public companies, meanwhile, reached billion last year, up from $180 billion in 1990.

One of the reasons the region's numbers look so good is last year's move of General Dynamics Corp. to the Virginia suburbs of the nation'scapital, said Robert T. Grow, executive director of the WBRA.

That move added a company with more than $8 billion in sales.

Total revenues for all of the public companies in the region rose less than $11 billion for the year.

General Dynamics also helped the profit numbers, having reported a $1 billion improvement from 1990 to 1991, finishing last year more than $500 million in the black.

The total increase in profits for all companies was $2.6 billion.

Though several well-known local companies, such as retailer W. Bell, were dropped from this year's survey, they were much smaller than General Dynamics.

The survey also found that while the number of publicly traded companies in the region is dropping, the ones that remain are getting bigger.

There were only 156 public companies in 1991, down from 161 last year, and 163 in 1989.

But the region now has 27 companies that have revenues of more than $1 billion a year, two more than last year, Mr. Grow said.

The results were in marked contrast to the previous survey, which found that revenues had rocketed in 1990, while profits had been flat.

The 1990 numbers, which included Fairfax-based Mobil Corp. for the first time, were a vast improvement over 1989 revenues of $101 billion.

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