Industrial America enjoyed a record year in profits and sales in 1988 as the economy expanded for the sixth consecutive year, Fortune magazine said in its ranking of the 500 largest U.S. manufacturing companies.
"Any way you cut it, last year was the most prosperous for the 500 since Fortune published the first 500 directory in 1955," Fortune said.The magazine said sales by the Fortune 500 last year topped $2 trillion for the first time, while total profits for the group jumped 27 percent to a record $115 billion.
The Big Three automakers had especially strong revenue, with General Motors Corp. again topping the Fortune 500 and Ford Motor Co. bumping Exxon Corp. from No. 2. Chrysler Corp. jumped to No. 7 from No. 10.
Companies involved in acquisitions also moved higher. Philip Morris Cos. took the No. 10 spot, up from 12th, partly due to its acquisition of Kraft Corp., ranked 31st in 1987. Eastman Kodak Co. jumped to 18th from No. 25 with the acquisition of Sterling Drug Inc., ranked 174th the previous year.
The magazine ranks companies in terms of annual sales. It also publishes a list later in the year of the top 500 U.S. service companies.
After GM, Ford and Exxon, the rest of the top 10 were: International Business Machines Corp., General Electric Co., Mobil Corp., Chrysler, Texaco Inc., E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Philip Morris.
American Telephone & Telegraph Co., ranked eighth in the 1987 listing, was bumped from the 1988 list because most of its revenue was generated from the service sector. ITT Corp., ranked No. 45 in 1987, also fell into that category.