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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023


Christopher Woodard Staff Reporter The Walt Disney Co., Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. and Dole Food Co. Inc. again powered their way to the top of the list of San Fernando Valley-based public companies, while Guitar Center Inc., Xylan Corp. and Xircom Inc. made their debuts. This year’s ranking offers proof of the growing importance of the high-tech corridor along the Ventura (101) Freeway and demonstrates the diversity of the greater San Fernando Valley economy, said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “You continue to see Disney as the 800-pound gorilla, which is a very nice gorilla to have in your back yard. Then you have technology, health care, insurance companies. It’s a rather diverse base,” he said. “The advantage is, you don’t have all your eggs in one basket if a certain industry does turn down.” Disney generated $22.4 billion in revenue in fiscal 1997, $3.7 billion more than in the previous year and three times more than the revenues of second-placed finisher, Foundation Health Systems. Still, with $7.2 billion in revenue, Foundation Health was able to knock its Woodland Hills neighbor, Wellpoint Health Networks, out of its former second-place ranking. The upset was made possible by Foundation’s merger with Health Systems International Inc., which ranked fifth last year. Golden State Bancorp Inc., the parent of Glendale Federal Bank, came in eighth on this year’s list, but it is expected to drop off the list entirely next year because it is in the process of merging with First Nationwide Holdings Inc., the parent company of California Federal Bank. Dole Food Co., the Westlake Village-based food products producer and distributor, and Litton Industries Inc., the Woodland Hills-based defense systems maker, dropped down one notch each, to fourth and fifth place, respectively, on this year’s list due to Foundation Health’s emergence. Thousand Oaks-based companies Amgen, the pharmaceutical maker, and Xircom, the maker of personal computer network products, appear on the list for the first time after the San Fernando Valley Business Journal broadened the scope of its list to take in the Conejo and Simi valleys as well as Santa Clarita. This year’s list was compiled with information supplied by Market Guide Inc., as well as through online resources and information supplied by the companies themselves. Among the newcomers are the Guitar Center, an Agoura Hills musical instrument retailer, Xylan, a Calabasas-based maker of high-bandwidth switching systems, and Summit Care Corp., a Burbank health care services provider, which ranked 15th , 18th and 21st respectively. Said Kyser, “This list is interesting, but it’s just really scratching the surface. The West Valley is a hotbed of new technology companies, and this list is going to continue to evolve.”

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