The Fortune 500 list for 2013 is out, and the ranking of publicly traded U.S. companies by total sales contains two new triumphs for Connecticut and one outrage.
In all, Connecticut has 16 companies on the list, our largest total in recent years, led, as always, by General Electric, the nation’s biggest industrial company. The Fairfield giant is No. 8 with $147 billion in sales last year, down from No. 6 in 2012.
United Technologies comes in at No. 50, which is down from its usual perch in the 40s, even though the Hartford-based industrial grew to $59.8 billion.
Northeast Utilities, a Connecticut stalwart for years, which fell off Fortune 500 in 2012 because of its size, is back at the No. 402 spot — in Massachusetts. Recall, NU merged with Boston-based NSTAR in April, 2012, giving it plenty of size to rejoin the list, with joint headquarters in Boston and Hartford.
So why does Massachusetts get the nod from Fortune? It was NU that bought NSTAR, technically, so we should prevail based on the famous business concept of first dibs. As it turns out, NU for years has had its official, legal address in Springfield, Mass. for some goofy reason. This year, that’s the headquarters location the map-makers at Fortune used in their list — even though they gave NU a Berlin, Conn. address in years past.
We appeal, and we move on to the good news: Priceline.com, homegrown in Norwalk, has expanded its way onto the list at No. 473, with a stunning $5.3 billion in revenues. Five years ago the travel services company wasn’t even in the Fortune list of the 1,000 biggest U.S. corporations, then it emerged at No. 931 in 2009, with $1.9 billion in sales.
The really good news for Priceline.com is that it had profits of $1.4 billion last year, one of the highest totals of any company in the last 100 on the fortune list.
Also joining the Connecticut list is Charter Communications, the cable TV company that moved its headquarters from St. Louis to Stamford after cutting a deal with the state. Charter promised to bring at least 200 jobs and invest at least $25 million in exchange for millions in low-rate loans, from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in the Next Five program.
Charter comes in at No. 340, with $7.5 billion in sales, up from No. 351 on the 2012 list, when it was in Missouri.
Hey, checkbook economic development counts. Connecticut is, after all, a capital of corporate headquarters. The other Connecticut company that joined the list by way of the Next Five program was Cigna, in 2012 — but that’s different since the Bloomfield health insurer already had thousands of employees here and was likely to move its head office from Philadelphia anyway.
Looking at the 16 companies in Connecticut, we see about six that have only a head office here, no major operations — led by Xerox, the $22.4 billion document and information company, in Norwalk, at No. 131.
On the overall list, Wal-Mart Stores ($469 billion) edged back ahead of Exxon Mobil ($450 billion) but Exxon is far more profitable, with $44.9 billion in net income, compared with $17 billion at Wal-Mart.
Travelers Cos., No. 116 on the list, is a New York company in name only, with its biggest operations in the Insurance Capital, but fair is fair, if we get Xerox, they get Travelers.
The Connecticut companies on the list, with 2012 sales in billions: