Oklahoma Inc.: More sliders than gainers in service sector

Observers blame slow economic recovery for service sector performance in Oklahoma.
BY PAULA BURKES pburkes@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2011
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Service companies lost more ground than they gained on the Oklahoma Inc. top companies chart this year.

Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. had the strongest showing across the sector but fell to No. 13 from No. 3 last year. Sonic Corp. climbed nine notches to No. 25 from No. 34.

The three remaining companies in the sector slid. Educational Development Corp., a Tulsa-based company that sells children's books, fell to No. 27 from No. 20. ADDvantage Technologies Group Inc., a Broken Arrow-based company that resells cable TV equipment, plummeted to No. 31 from No. 9. And, GrayMark Healthcare Inc., an Oklahoma City-based company that owns and operates diagnostic sleep centers and a medical equipment company that treats patients for sleep disorders, slipped to No. 33 from No. 29.

Jake Dollarhide, chief executive of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa who follows the services sector, attributes the sector's poor showing to slow economic recovery.

“Since they deal directly with consumers, service companies live and die by the economy,” he said

Moreover, service companies play a major role in improving the unemployment rate but aren't adding jobs, he said, because the economy hasn't returned to pre-2008 highs.

Dollar Thrifty's respectable showing on the list is largely due to last spring's bidding war between Hertz and Avis to acquire it, he said. Despite the weakness in leisure and business travel, its share, he said, is tied to the buyout premium of Hertz's current offer.

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