California Again Leads in Latino Business Tally : Economy: Sales growth among the top 500 such firms nationwide was twice that of the Forbes 500, survey finds.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

California continues to lead the nation in the number of Latino-owned businesses, according to an annual ranking by Hispanic Business magazine.

The survey, released Thursday, shows that the state was home last year to 121 of the nation's top 500 Latino-owned businesses, as measured by annual sales. However, California's prolonged recession reduced the state's representation on the list from 130 in 1992. Still, the California companies had total revenue of $2 billion in 1993, a $50-million increase from 1992.

In all, the magazine said, revenue at companies on its top 500 list totaled $11 billion, up nearly 9%, or $870 million, from 1992, more than twice the sales growth rate posted by the companies on Forbes magazine's list of the top 500 in terms of sales.

Sarah Acosta Soto, the magazine's research director, attributed the faster sales growth of Latino businesses to their increasing reliance on exports and international operations.

According to Soto, export revenues accounted for nearly 19% of the sales growth of the top 500 companies in 1993. "It is clear that Hispanic-owned companies are exploiting the increasing opportunities in the international marketplace," Soto said.

San Ysidro's Cal-State Lumber Sales Inc., the state's largest Latino-owned business with 1993 revenue of $168 million, ranked No. 7 on the nationwide list. Infotec Development, a Santa Ana computer services and defense engineering firm, ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 11 nationwide. Llody A. Wise, an Oakland auto sales and service concern, ranked No. 3 in the state and No. 15 nationally. Telacu Industries, a Commerce financial services company, ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 21 nationwide. Rosendin Electric, a San Jose electrical contractor, ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 26 nationally.

Burt on Broadway/Arapahoe, a Colorado automotive group, ranked as the nation's largest Latino-owned business with 1993 revenues of $529 million.

Florida had the second-highest number of companies on the list, and Texas was third.

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