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5 Kentucky companies make Fortune 500

By Lorie Hailey
Associate Editor

(May 7, 2012) — Five Kentucky companies have been named to this year’s Fortune 500 list, an annual ranking of America’s largest companies by Fortune magazine.

Louisville-based Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) stayed at No. 79, with revenues of $36.8 billion — up 8 percent — and profits of $1.4 billion.

Humana is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefits companies in the U.S.

Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), also of Louisville, moved up one spot to No. 213. The company had revenues of $12.6 billion and profits of $1.31 billion. The parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, Yum is the world’s largest restaurant company.

Ashland of Covington (NYSE: ASH) went down 35 spots to No. 307. Its revenues were down 7.1 percent to $8.3 billion and its profits were up 24.7 percent to $414 million.

Highland Heights-based General Cable (NYSE: BGC), which develops, produces and distributes wire and cable products for the energy, industrial and communications markets, moved up 44 spots to No. 421.

Its revenues were $5.866 billion — up more than 20 percent — and its profits increased by 21 percent to $84 million.

Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) of Louisville moved into the Top 500, coming in at No. 44. Last year, it was No. 501.

The company, which operates healthcare facilities, institutional pharmacies and pharmacy management businesses, had revenues of $5.5 billion. Its profits were in the negative in 2011, down 194.7 percent to -$53 million.

Omnicare, formerly of Covington, moved last year to Cincinnati. They also made the Fortune 500 list, coming in at No. 389. Its revenues were listed as $6.23 billion and its profts were $86.9 million.

Exxon makes way back to No. 1

Topping the Fortune 500 list is Exxon Mobile (NYSE: XOM), with revenues of nearly $453 billion and profits of $41 billion. In 2011, shares rose by 20 percent and profits surged by 35 percent to $41.1 billion. Revenues jumped 28 percent to $452.9 billion, helping Exxon reclaim the top spot in the Fortune 500.

“Exxon has certainly benefited from rising oil prices, particularly during the last quarter of 2011,” Fortune said. “But the company has also positioned itself well to capitalize on the latest controversial trend in domestic energy production: Fracking.”

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) took the No. 2 spot after holding onto the top spot for two consecutive years. The retailer was forced to aggressively cut prices to reverse its declining same store sales in the U.S., Fortune said.

“That helped push revenues up by 6 percent during 2011, to $447 billion, but it hurt Wal-Mart’s bottom line — profits declined by 4.6 percent during the year, to $15.7 billion,” the magazine reported.

Chevron (NYSE: CVX) kept the No. 3 spot, despite a 25 percent increase in revenues, at $245.6 billion.

Chevron ended 2011 on a sour note, Fortune said.

“Despite rising oil prices, the company posted its biggest profit decline in two years, largely due to losses at its U.S. refinery business,” the magazine said.

Chevron is spending heavily on oil and gas projects in places such as Australia, Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico — projects that are expected to start paying off in 2014, Forbes reported.

Read the full Fortune 500 list here.