By Jackie Hanson
Editor’s note: Guam Business Magazine conducts an annual poll of companies doing business in Micronesia whose gross revenues for the previous year total more than $1 million. The results of this poll provide an overview of the health of the economy in Micronesia and, more specifically, the health of the business sector. This study is the only one of its kind in the region.
Our Top Companies feature includes results from an anonymous Economic Confidence Survey (see below), responses from each company on its biggest accomplishment in the past year, economic assessments by our sponsors — Joe M. Arnett of Deloitte & Touche and David J. John of ASC Trust Corp. — who have met first-person with some of the executives of last year’s Top Companies list, and lastly, a list of the top revenue-generating companies in the region ranked by gross revenues.
The Top Companies survey this year, based on business conducted in 2015, revealed that 62.5% of Micronesia’s top revenue-generating companies showed positive growth over the previous year. By comparison, 70% of companies on the list last year showed positive growth. Where there was growth in 2015, it was primarily within the 1% to 5% range, with one company exceeding 18% growth. Three companies had reported growth of more than 40% in 2014.
Guam AutoSpot assumed of the position of the most improved Top Company, seeing an increase of 82.68% in gross revenues from 2014 to 2015. This follows its previous year’s growth of 113%. The runners up for most improved gross revenues are ANZ Guam Inc. with an 18.4% increase and Century Insurance Co. (Guam) Ltd. with a 12.65% increase.
In general, the region’s conglomerates trended upwards as did the automotive companies and hotels on the list.
Companies that saw decreases in revenue in 2015 primarily saw 1% to 15% decreases, while Core Tech International Corp. and Mobil Oil saw larger decreases — 34% and 24%, respectively. Nevertheless, both companies ranked high on the list.
Petroleum companies on the list, in general, continue to show negative or only modest growth — in line with the past two years.
In telecommunications, while Docomo remained consistent, GTA and Pacific Data Systems fared much better in 2014 than 2015. Perhaps faring the worst from 2014 to 2015 were construction companies, showing mostly double-digit decreases in revenue across the board.
In our Economic Confidence Survey, companies identified potential reasons their expectations were not met to include delayed contract opportunities, infrastructure failures outside of the company’s control, increase in freight costs and a more financially conservative tourism market. Factors indicated that would decrease business performance further going forward include the passage of the minimum wage increase, the new federal overtime regulations for salaried workers and continued denials of H-2 visa applications.
Regardless of these stumbling blocks, nearly 74% of respondents to our economic confidence survey said they are optimistic that 2017 will provide specific opportunities for their companies. Expected opportunities mentioned in our survey include military buildup spending, additional work orders under existing contracts, resolution of the H-2 visa approvals situation, increased room rates, completion of facility expansions, continued tourism growth and a favorable currency exchange rate.
As for employment, nearly 80% of companies on this year’s list reported their number of staff had increased or stayed the same in the past year. In the coming year, nearly 48% expect to increase staff and 52% expect their workforce numbers to remain the same.
Guam Business looks forward to welcoming more companies on the list next year from all industries to include the new federal contractors and hotel and casino investors that are making their way to the region.
What was your biggest corporate accomplishment in the past year?
Editor’s note: Each of the companies participating in this year’s Top Companies survey was asked about its biggest accomplishments during the past year. The following are responses of the head executives.
“Our greatest accomplishment was the successful completion of our first 10-year Base Operations Support Services contract and award of a ’bridging’ one-year BOSC in June 2015. We originally were awarded the follow-on BOSC for Joint Region Marianas in September 2014. Unfortunately, a competitor protested that award and we and Naval Facilities Engineering Command are still embroiled in dispute-related activities two years later. We remain optimistic that we will be the ultimate awardee.”
“The groundbreaking on Saipan Comfort Homes Housing Tax Credit Project in Saipan and the grand opening of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Saipan.”
“The dedication and resiliency of Century’s people to forge ahead towards profitability in a year where we experienced significant internal change and the effects of two impactful typhoons affecting the Marianas.”
“[The addition of] our own warehouse facility in Saipan and American Samoa.”
“In 2015, we again enjoyed 100% growth in gross sales over the previous year, which translated into doubling our new car market share while maintaining our position as a leader in the pre-owned market making us the fastest growing dealership on island.”
“In 2015, our team was the successful bidder for the 2015 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan for 93 units at Summer Town Estates Phase 2 in Dededo, same location as the Summer Town Estates Phase 1 — 240 senior citizen affordable housing units.”
“The broadening of employee-based customer service training programs and the associated investment PIC made in qualitative customer feedback analysis, which has validated the training programs and their significant impact on improving customer satisfaction.”
“Atkins Kroll Inc. and Atkins Kroll Saipan Inc. were each awarded the Toyota Motor Corp. Overall Marketing award for achieving the number one share in each respective market and for achieving their 2015 revised annual sales plan.”
“The biggest accomplishment of the past year was the $111,000 that SPPC employees raised for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. SPPC was the first company on Guam to reach this level. We are very proud to employ such an outstanding team.”
“Hilton Guam Resort & Spa is proud of the expansion and renovation of its lobby lounge coffee shop, Caffe Cino.”
“Expansion of construction capabilities and completion of large projects for Andersen Air Force Base and United Airlines.”
“We offered scholarships to our students in the Marshall Islands.”
“Among many achievements from being SBA Lender of the Year to increased asset size to $1.54 billion dollars, our greatest achievement in all this success is in the way we deliver service to our customers. We see their financial needs from their perspective and we meet them through adaptation, flexibility, quick decisions and with sensitivity and compassion.”
“Entered into two new areas of business focus, namely construction and renovation precision painting. We trained for and are launching a new ultra high–gloss polishing system for marble, performed without the use of chemicals.”
“We renovated the restaurant at an investment of $600,000. We also sent five front-of-the-house staff to Japan for all-expense-paid training, five kitchen staff to culinary school in the Philippines and two managers to HR training in the Philippines. Our Guam bartender competed in Taiwan for the Asia Pacific Bartending Championship. We also celebrated this year 18 years in Guam as T.G.I.Friday’s and are the top grossing T.G.I.Friday’s in sales in the Asia-Pacific region.”
“Last year, Black Construction was awarded the Eagle Award in the National Excellence in Construction competition for the Guam Commercial Port Facility Expansion Project. This marks the second time we have won the top national award competing among the best of the best of the nation’s top construction firms. In 2014, Black won this same award for the construction of the Kosrae State Correctional Facility. BCC is truly honored and proud to have been selected twice.”
“We won the Construction Management Association of America annual award for the Ordot Dump closure [in the category of] U.S. Infrastructure under $50 Million.”
“We continually strive to improve member service and experience and in the last year have made a number of strides in this direction. Acquiring our Upper Tumon property was an exciting step for us; we’re excited about what we have in store for one of our busiest member centers. In addition, we launched our mobile app, Coast Mobile, this past August. We had 2,000 new users within the first two weeks of launch and are confident our members are happy with our mobile deposit feature and the fact that they can bank anytime from anywhere.”
“Relyant’s single biggest accomplishment during the past year has been our success and growth into Micronesia accompanied by our recently established program of training local Guamanian hires through our UXO Tech 1 Training Program in Tennessee, which will provide life-long careers and growth to our local community in Guam.”
“The past year we were a part of two Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas awards: 1) IDIQ for programming and planning A-E services and 2) IDIQ for construction management services multiple-award contract in Guam and the Pacific.”
“Mobil is proud of how our employees here have been working in close coordination with our colleagues across the region to ensure the continuous supply of fuel in the face of challenging situations. For example, we continue to manage spikes in non-ratable demand by Guam Power Authority’s backup power generators in an unprecedented situation, and we also managed to safely contain a situation at our Saipan terminal post Typhoon Soudelor to resume supplies of fuel at our service stations in a timely manner, without imposing rations, after the typhoon.”
“Some of Calvo Enterprises Inc. accomplishments last year are: 1) Completion of a two-story commercial building in East Agana; 2) Ongoing construction of a restaurant facility at Two Lovers Point to cater mostly to tourists; 3) Ongoing construction of a self-storage facility in Harmon and a warehouse in Anigua. For this year we expect an increase in personnel as well as in revenues as a result of the listed projects.”
“First Hawaiian Bank donated monetary support in the aftermath of Saipan’s Super Typhoon Soudelor and even flew in emergency supplies, water and bank staff from Guam providing much needed relief for our Saipan employees and community, making it possible for our two Saipan branches to remain open so our customers could continue to do their banking during this devastating time.”
“Given the current economic climate, Jones & Guerrero has managed to diversify
its offerings by acquiring a new line of products in 2015 and reopened another store in the CNMI.”
“Pacific Rim’s single biggest accomplishment during the past year was completing the Dusit Thani Hotel, Guam’s first five-star hotel. This building is the largest building on Guam that consists of 421 keys, six food service outlets and the largest convention center on the island.”
“North and East Island Tinting continue to provide to all our eligible staff profit-sharing and retirement contributions totaling over $13,000 since 2014. [Also] Roberto Enterprises had provided the Wolverines Soccer Club over $10,000 in cash support for their soccer club trip in July.”
“Expanding fiber to the neighborhood with internet speeds up to 50Mbps in more neighborhoods and businesses, increasing the number of 4G LTE sites — now covering 95% of the population — and improving coverage for our military customers by increasing the number of sites covering bases and surrounding areas. We are also continuing efforts with a consortium of seven telecommunications companies to develop a state-of-the-art trans-Pacific underwater cable system.”
“Structured and funded a large, extremely complicated property acquisition facility.”
“During the year ended Dec. 31, 2015, Pacific Islands Club Saipan kept a much stronger grip on the Korean and the now flourishing Chinese market as it significantly exceeded the preceding year’s gross revenue by approximately $5.5 million, or about a 22% rise from 2014. Furthermore, amidst natural disasters and economic setbacks that hit the CNMI in 2015, resilience shines through PIC Saipan as its net earnings more than doubled from 2014 to 2015 and, therefore, remained financially strong with remarkable working capital all throughout the year.”
“Contract with the government of Nauru for fuel supply and management of Aiwo Terminal and Bulk Plant facilities. This has resulted in 30% growth of the company.”