The numbers are in, and it will probably not come as a surprise that Best Sunshine International has assumed the No. 1 position on our annual list of Top Companies in Micronesia, ranked by gross revenues. What may come as a surprise, however, is the fact that Best Sunshine topped the list based on only six months of revenues. Moreover, those were revenues generated at what is only a temporary facility — Best Sunshine Live, with 48 gaming tables and 144 slot machines — as the actual casino, to have 200–300 gaming tables and 300–400 slot machines, is still under construction, slated to open by the end of January.
Having these hard numbers paints a much clearer picture of the magnitude at which this new economic player and this new industry will impact the Northern Mariana Islands economy. David J. John, president of Top Companies list sponsor ASC Trust Corp., foresees in his article on Page 23 that, “These are certainly exciting times for the NMI economy, but it will not be without its growing pains.”
Our Top Companies feature provides many other insights into the economy as well. It shows how employment numbers are faring among some of the top employers in the region. It gives an overview of where revenues are being invested, as shared by company presidents and CEOs in the “Biggest corporate accomplishments” section on Page 16. And it shows which industries are exceling and which are faced with specific challenges.
One identifiable trend over our years of producing this list is that the companies that consistently improve, year over year, are the ones that diversify their offerings and diversify their markets. Just as with our tourism industry, which learned it cannot rely too heavily on one market, companies now seem to be increasingly expanding their presence in the region — establishing client relationships, adding distribution centers and taking on projects on other islands in the Pacific — whether Saipan, Palau, American Samoa or Hawaii.
Still, sometimes larger factors are at play and create a drag on business growth. This has been the case with the construction industry and the struggle with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to approve H-2 visa applications for desperately needed workers. Alongside our Top Companies in the construction industry, we eagerly await any headway made toward resolving this issue.
In addition to a lack of H-2 workers, other pressures facing businesses large and small right now include legislation to continue to increase the minimum wages in both Guam and the NMI as well as new federal overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. While the business community, government officials and organizations to include the Guam Contractors Association are actively fighting on some of these fronts, business owners must also be prudent in preparing for unfavorable outcomes and what they will mean for their output, operations and employees.
We hope you find this issue a valuable resource as you make future plans for your business. And as we move into 2017 and make plans ourselves for Guam Business Magazine’s 2017 editorial calendar, please be in touch and let us know what stories or information would be most of interest to you.
Happy holidays, Jackie Hanson