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Tampa Bay's biggest public companies enjoy strong year

The billionaire's club is back.

For the first time in four years, the 10 biggest public companies based in the Tampa Bay area each posted revenues north of $1 billion.

Unemployment is still high; the bay area has reclaimed the unwanted throne as king of foreclosures; and financial distress among Tampa Bay residents remains at an "emergency crisis" level, according to one analysis.

Yet the region's corporate community — at least based on its relatively small cluster of public companies — is doing just fine.

Nine of the top 10 public companies here enjoyed rising revenues, with six of them relishing double-digit percentage increases. The sole exception was TECO Energy, which, unlike those companies in tourism and construction, does not do as well financially during milder weather due to the related lower electric bills.

Does that corporate resurgence bode well for the area's overall economy?

Raymond James Financial chief economist Scott Brown, whose company happens to be among the Top 10, said a rebound in corporate revenues and profits "certainly doesn't hurt" the area's economy. But he hesitated to draw a corollary between how well businesses do compared to the average citizen.

"You'd probably expect to see more job growth relative to strong sales activity, but you're still seeing an emphasis on cost-cutting," Brown said.

"Corporate profits have done pretty well. Real wages haven't really done much at all. Hopefully, we'll see raises this year, but I'm not counting on it. My sense is there is still a lot of downward pressure on wages unless you are in a high-skill field, certain technical fields."

The leaders of Tech Data and Jabil Circuit — by a broad margin the two biggest public companies in the bay area — say their good fortunes globally are having a broader impact in giving the community a lift.

"I think a rising corporate tide will help the local economy," Tech Data chief executive Bob Dutkowsky says, "but it may take a little time."

Adds Jabil CEO Tim Main: "The better the company does globally, the better the staffing payroll and stability and employee growth will be locally."

Jabil is the region's biggest public company by market value; Tech Data is No. 1 by revenues. Both devote most of their focus and manpower far away from Tampa Bay, however.

Out of Tech Data's 8,500 workers in 100 countries, only 1,700 live in the bay area; Jabil, with a much grander global workforce pushing 121,000, has nearly 2,000 local employees, including about 100 hired over the past six months.

Jabil has significantly expanded product development and design locally, although its defense business out of St. Petersburg has not done as well as hoped, Main said.

During the recession, Jabil tabled plans for a major headquarters expansion that promised to bring as many as 2,000 more jobs in return for millions of dollars in tax incentives. Last week, Main said there still is no news about the expansion, but "we'd sure like to decide sometime in the near future, in the next three to six months."

Regardless of the verdict on the expansion, Main indicated that companies like Jabil are already having a positive impact in spending more locally. "When the companies do well, they hire additional corporate staff, product development," he said. "They spend more and they invest more."

Tech Data's Dutkowsky said a desire to focus on community building spurred this month's launch of the Tech Data Foundation, an enterprise created to invest in education and health initiatives.

It was long overdue, Dutkowsky said. "In almost 40 years in business, we had not had a charitable organization here at Tech Data."

The charitable foundation will support community efforts everywhere the company does business.

"But we have the single biggest concentration of employees anywhere in the world here in Tampa Bay," Dutkowsky said. "Chances are, employees are more involved here than anywhere else."

Jeff Harrington can be reached at jharrington@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8242.

THE TIMES 10

HIGHLIGHTS

 Several companies posted huge revenue jumps: Jabil Circuit revenue was up 23 percent to $16.5 billion, while Cott Corp. jumped 30 percent to $2.3 billion.

 More than half the companies reported a double-digit increase in revenue.

 Only one company (TECO Energy) saw falling revenues.

 The names haven't changed, but the order jumbled a little bit. Raymond James leapfrogged HSN to become fifth-largest.

 Look for OSI, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, to immediately jump back into the Top 5 when it goes public again this year.

 The smallest of the top 10 had the highest-paid chief executive. Kforce CEO David Dunkel made $11.7 million in total compensation, up 43 percent from the prior year.

 Lincare CEO John Byrnes was the lowest-paid leader with total compensation of $968,770. Byrnes is a few years removed from when he led all comers with his 2009 payout of $19.8 million. That compensation package was inflated with one-time stock awards intended to carry him through until his contract ends after 2012.

 TECO Energy CEO John

Ramil had the single largest percentage increase in compensation (up 73 percent to $5.07 million) while Cott Corp. CEO Jerry Fowden had the single-biggest drop (down 63 percent to $2.15 million)

THE

TOP

10

1

Tech Data Corp.

2

Jabil Circuit Inc.

3

WellCare Health Plans

4

TECO

Energy Inc.

5

Raymond James

Financial

6

HSN Inc.

7

Cott Corp.

8

Lincare

Holdings

9

Sykes

Enterprises

10

Kforce Inc.

THE

TOP 10

1

Tech Data Corp.

2. Jabil Circuit Inc.

3. WellCare Health Plans

4. TECO Energy Inc.

5. Raymond James Financial

6. HSN Inc.

7. Cott Corp.

8. Lincare Holdings

9. Sykes Enterprises

10. Kforce Inc.

Tampa Bay's biggest public companies enjoy strong year 05/26/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 26, 2012 4:32am]
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