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Private Companies' Biggest, Brightest

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CINCINNATI -- The gloom of the Great Recession slowly and steadily is lifting for the region's 100 largest privately held companies that make up the new Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100.

Revenues were up in 2010, the year on which today's new rankings are based, ending a slide from 2009.

Profits were up as well, also ending a one-year decline.

And hiring rose for the first time since 2006.

The rankings have been compiled for 28 years by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. Other partners in the project are the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Enquirer Media and Great American Insurance.

For these 100 companies, the gloom is being replaced by a bit of bullishness. As a group, they expect to end this year with higher revenues, profits and employment. They also expect the same for 2012, according to a survey conducted in late summer by Deloitte.

But make no mistake: the recovery is not complete. Revenues in 2010 were down 5.5 percent, adjusted for inflation, from their peak in 2008. Employment was down 8.7 percent from its 2007 peak. And profits were down 9.9 percent from their 2006 high, adjusted for inflation.

The economy also remains the top worry of companies on the list, with 67 percent labeling it as the primary challenge to the growth of their business.

The response was virtually the same as 69 percent in last year's survey.

But what is new is that 45 percent saw recruiting and retaining talent as their second biggest challenge, up nine points from 2011.

Clearly, the future is more of a focus for the companies on the Deloitte 100 list as the recovery slowly continues.