Seventeen publicly traded companies headquartered in Florida made this year's Fortune 500 list, including Lakeland's Publix Super Markets (not quite publicly traded but its employees own shares whose prices rise and fall by its performance) — the state's largest on the list at No. 85. Four of the Florida 17 on the list are based in the Tampa Bay market and — as two tech-related businesses, a health care insurer and a financial investment firm — reflect this area's business diversity. The Fortune 500 list is ranked by revenues, in this case annual numbers from 2016. A little perspective: The 17 companies from Florida, the third most populated state in the country, amount to just 3.4 percent of the number of corporations on this year's Fortune 500. In contrast, California is home to 53 or 10.6 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.
• Florida's top 10 on Fortune 500
Company Fortune 500 rank versus year before
1. Publix, Lakeland 85, up from 87
2. World Fuel Services, Miami 103, down from 92
3. Tech Data, Clearwater 107, up from 108
4. Autonation, Fort Lauderdale 127, up from 136
5. Jabil, St. Petersburg 152, up from 158
6. NextEra Energy, Juno Beach 170, down from 163
7. WellCare Health Plans, Tampa 195, up from 202
8. Office Depot, Boca Raton 203, down from 196
9. CSX, Jacksonville 257, down from 239
10. Lennar, Miami 260, up from 301
• Raymond James Financial, the St. Petersburg investment firm, did not make the top 10 list in Florida but still made the Fortune 500. It lands at No. 469, up from 482 a year earlier. Two additional Tampa Bay firms hover near in size to qualify for the Fortune 500. But not quite. Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain owner Bloomin' Brands in Tampa ranks No. 568, slipping from No. 557 the prior year. And TV/digital retailer HSN of St. Petersburg ranks No. 641 after falling 20 spots from No. 621 a year earlier.
• Among the biggest of the big on the Fortune 500, Walmart is again No. 1 with revenues of nearly $486 billion. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway leapfrogged Apple to nab the No. 2 spot on the list with close to $226 billion. That's still far below Walmart's revenues.
• Tampa Bay's two recently arrived and (thanks to recent acquisitions) far bigger cable TV/Internet companies — Charter Communications and Frontier Communications — recorded some of the biggest leaps up the Fortune 500 ranks. Charter gained 196 spots to reach No. 96. Frontier jumped 148 spots to No. 313.
• Miami's NextEra Energy may rank at only No. 170 on the Fortune 500, but it ranks 78th in profitability. That makes NextEra the most profitable public corporation in Florida based on 2016 profits. The nation's most profitable company? No surprise: It's Apple.
• Based on employee numbers, Publix ranks largest in Florida on the Fortune 500 list with 191,000. Second in the state? St. Petersburg's electronics and design manufacturer Jabil with 138,000. Most Jabil workers are based overseas in nearly two dozen countries.
• Something to watch. Tech Data recently completed its largest corporate acquisition in history and will likely see its revenues approach $35 billion in the coming year. Will Tech Data compete with Publix to become the largest company by revenue in Florida in the years ahead?