More than two-thirds of the Oklahoma-based public companies ranked in Oklahoma Inc. — and 11 of the top 12 performers — are in the energy sector.
Which makes this year's top performer an outlier. Overall No. 1 LSB Industries is an Oklahoma City-based manufacturer of chemicals and climate control devices such as heat pumps.
Manufacturer tops ratings
LSB Industries, ironically, survived the oil bust of the 1980 by reducing its dependence on energy-related firms.
In the July 2010 through June 2011 period tracked by Oklahoma Inc., LSB Industries earned the highest rankings in two of the three categories that produce the overall rankings.
The next 11 companies in the rankings all are in energy, although those companies operate with various business models.
The energy sector as a share of the state's gross domestic product and personal income is nearly as large now as it was in 1981, Federal Reserve economist Chad Wilkerson said. The oil bust of the early 1980s threw Oklahoma into a recession that lasted for years, which Wilkerson said
“It's been an outstanding thing certainly for the last year, probably for the past five years,” Wilkerson said. “States concentrated in energy have generally grown faster than other states in the long run.”
Energy activity has been the main catalyst for Oklahoma's recent economic growth, and helped delay the state's entry into the last recession, he said.
“Of course, it comes with the huge risk of something happening like what happened here in the 1980s,” he said.
But most analysts and futures markets indicate that crude oil and natural gas prices should remain steady for the foreseeable future, Wilkerson said.
Investors in those top-ranking energy companies during the past year have been rewarded, although not nearly at the rate of those with a stake in LSB Industries, which produced a 223 percent return.
While shareholders are most interested in the return on their investments, Oklahoma Inc. tracks two other metrics to rank the state's public companies.
The 36 state-based firms that trade on major exchanges are ranked by each of the three measures, and the company that achieves the best overall rankings collects the top spot.
Total return to investors includes gains or losses in stock price plus any dividends. As noted above, LSB Industries was a clear leader in this category.
LSB also topped the rankings in terms of earnings per share growth, registering a robust 725 percent gain.
Oklahoma City's SandRidge Energy recorded the biggest gain in revenue at nearly 76 percent.
The Oklahoma Inc. methodology rewards companies that grow quickly, boost profits and benefit shareholders. Typically it is rare for a corporation to do all three simultaneously. However, this year's top eight overall companies ranked in the top 10 in each of the three categories.
In our latest rankings, there is a clear divide between the good, the not so good and the poor performers.
Best of the rest
Gulfport Energy Corp., an Oklahoma City producer of oil and natural gas, claimed the No. 2 ranking with the second-best performance in shareholder return and revenue growth combined with a No. 4 ranking in earnings growth.
SandRidge, in addition to its top performance in revenue growth mentioned above, earned the No. 3 overall ranking by finishing in the top five across the board.
Helmerich & Payne, the longtime Tulsa-based contract oil and natural gas driller, earned points for consistency with top four rankings in all three categories.
Alliance Resource Partners LP, a coal producer and marketer based in Tulsa, ranked fifth in shareholder returns, seventh in revenue growth and eighth in earnings growth to claim the No. 5 Oklahoma Inc. ranking.
Economic concerns, including a potential default on U.S. debt, have dominated headlines and affected markets since June 30, the date that these corporate numbers were compiled.
Take a look inside one of the production plants of this year's top-ranking Oklahoma Inc. company, LSB Indus