31: TRAK AUTO CORP. 3301 Pennsy Drive Landover, Md. 20785
REVENUE: $107.8 million PROFITS: $3.2 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: 54 cents DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $75.3 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $53.2 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 6.2 percent (est.) EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 765 TOP EXECUTIVES: Herbert H. Haft, chairman; Ben S. Kovalsky, president FOUNDED: 1979
DESCRIPTION: Trak Auto is the supermarket of the auto parts business, a chain-store operation that relies heavily on mass-merchandising techniques -- rows and rows of neatly displayed goods on spacious aisles. The company, two-thirds owned by its founder, Dart Group Inc., operates 93 stores in the District, Richmond, and Chicago areas. Trak West Corp., a related company, operates 51 stores in the Los Angeles area.
DEVELOPMENTS: Trak Auto's net income for the 1985 fiscal year ended Jan. 31 fell to $3.2 million (54 cents a share) from $4.6 million (83 cents) in fiscal 1984. Much of that slide is attributable to Trak West, which lost $8.5 million last year compared with $5.8 million in 1984 because of "low sales and gross profit in existing and new locations" on the West Coast, Trak officials said. High expenses, such as advertising and start-up costs, also hurt earnings in the Los Angeles-area market, Trak officials said. Trak West has opened five new stores since Nov. 1.
But Trak East also had a slow year, the company reported; net income slipped slightly, to $7.47 million from $7.55 million in fiscal 1984. Much of that came in the fourth quarter, when earnings fell to $1.33 million from $2.06 million in the comparable fiscal 1984 period. Trak Auto Corp.'s year-end results include 100 percent of the net income of Trak East and 50 percent of the losses of Trak West. 32: SYSCON CORP. 1000 Thomas Jefferson St. NW Washington, D.C. 20007
REVENUE: $104 million PROFITS: $4.1 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $1.31 DIVIDEND: 24 cents ASSETS: $68.1 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $31.3 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 13.7 percent EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,450 TOP EXECUTIVES: J. J. Yglesias, chairman and chief executive officer; E. E. Tritch, president and chief operating officer FOUNDED: 1966
DESCRIPTION: Syscon is a high-tech company that evaluates, develops and manages computer software systems and hardware/software products. From its origins as a computer systems engineering firm serving the Pentagon, Syscon has expanded into the commercial field. The bulk of its sales, however, still come from the Department of Defense.
DEVELOPMENTS: Syscon said that revenue exceeded $100 million for the first time in its history for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, jumping a healthy 20 percent over sales for fiscal 1983. Profits rose 16 percent, marking the 18th consecutive year of improved results. For the first quarter of fiscal 1985, profits rose 10 percent over the comparable period a year ago, while sales increased 9 percent.
Syscon posted gains in all of its business areas during 1984, but events outside the company -- including the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 and heavy scrutiny of defense contractors by investigative and audit agencies -- cast uncertainty over the future. The company continued work on NAVTAG, a realistic computerized war game that trains Navy personnel in sensor and weapons systems. Major new commercial products include a lightweight, hand-held data collection terminal and an off-line microprocessor-based weighing and recording system. 33: AMERICAN MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS INC. 1777 N. Kent St. Arlington, Va. 22209
REVENUE: $97 million PROFITS: $2.8 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $1.70 DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $48 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $19.9 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 16.8 percent EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,240 TOP EXECUTIVE: Charles O. Rossotti, president and chief executive officer FOUNDED: 1970
DESCRIPTION: AMS develops, installs and operates computer software systems for business and government.
DEVELOPMENTS: AMS's sales increased 26 percent in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, while profits grew 41 percent over 1983, reflecting the success of the company's decision to focus on five markets: telecommunications; energy; financial institutions; federal, state and local government, and universities. AMS developed this strategy after major losses in 1981 convinced the company that its marketing approach was too diffuse.
AMS's biggest customer remains the federal government, which accounted for $23 million, or about 30 percent, of revenue last year. The figure also represents a 37 percent increase over 1983 sales to federal agencies. The fastest-growing segment, however, is sales to financial institutions, which grew 69 percent last year to $10.8 million.
The company also has found success in custom building software systems for individual clients, then adapting those products for industrywide application. One of AMS's most successful new products is its Computer-Assisted Collection System, which automates the collection of unpaid bills or taxes. The system was developed originally for a California bank and has since been adapted for use by financial institutions, utilities and local governments. Last year AMS sold the system to 22 new clients, bringing the total to 35. 34: DART GROUP INC. 3500 Pennsy Dr. Landover, Md. 20785
REVENUE: $73.8 million PROFITS: $82.3 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $45.15 DIVIDEND: Not available ASSETS: $256.24 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $187.58 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 59.4 percent (est.) EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 55 TOP EXECUTIVES: Herbert H. Haft, chairman; Robert M. Haft, president FOUNDED: 1954
DESCRIPTION: Dart Group Inc. is a holding company for two discount retailing subsidiaries: Crown Books, of which it owns 34 percent, and Trak Auto, of which it owns 67 percent.
DEVELOPMENTS: Of all Washington-area companies, Dart has undergone perhaps the most major restructuring in 1984, transforming itself from primarily a drugstore chain to a holding company for Crown and Trak.
Last summer, after making its name as a drugstore chain for 30 years, Dart sold all of its 73 stores for $160 million to a group of investors headed by the two top executives in the drugstore division. In the process, the company changed its name from Dart Drug Corp. to Dart Group Inc. The drugstores are now known as Dart Drug Stores Inc.
The sale gave Dart Group a one-time gain of $75 million, inflating the company's $6.3 million profit from operations for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31 to a net profit of $82.2 million ($45.15 a share). By comparison, Dart's fiscal 1984 profit was $15.3 million ($8.80).
The sale did not come as a great surprise to financial analysts, who noted that in recent years, the Hafts have turned most of their attention to Crown and Trak, doing little to keep the drugstore division competitive with rivals Peoples Drug Stores Inc. and Giant Food Inc.
The divestiture has given the Hafts substantial new capital; however, to date, it appears that little of that money has been used to expand the company's specialty retailing ventures, both of which went public in 1983. As a result, the financial community has been waiting to see how the Hafts plan to spend the money from the sale. Earlier this year, some believed the family was about to bid for May Department Stores Co., after Crown disclosed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had bought about 1 percent of May's stock for $15 million. A month later, however, Crown told the SEC it had sold its May shares for a $500,000 profit.
Meanwhile, the drugstore chain has been renovating existing stores and opening some new ones for the first time in years. Many industry officials predict that the chain eventually will sell its stock to the public. 35: VSE CORP. 2550 Huntington Ave. Alexandria, Va. 22303
REVENUE: $73.7 million LOSS: $453,000 LOSS PER SHARE: 24 cents DIVIDEND: 15 cents ASSETS: $45 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $18 million RETURN ON EQUITY: NA EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,600 TOP EXECUTIVE: John B. Toomey, chairman and president FOUNDED: 1959
DESCRIPTION: VSE was founded to help government and industry reduce the costs and improve the reliability of various types of equipment. Eventually it diversified into engineering and technical services and products, including prototype assembly and testing, production engineering services, and management information services.
Subsidiaries include: Design and Management Inc., a graphic communications company; Metropolitan Capital Corp., a federally licensed small business investment company; and Starr Management Corp., a property management firm. U.S. government contracts account for three-quarters of VSE's revenue.
DEVELOPMENTS: VSE blamed its loss for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 on a change in the way it calculates the value of investments at Metropolitan Capital Corp., its small business investment unit. The Securities and Exchange Commission requested the change, which became effective Jan. 1, 1984, and as a result, the company reversed a net unrealized appreciation of $2.5 million that had accumulated over several years, showing the reversal as a loss in 1984.
VSE said that if it had followed the new accounting method all along, profits for 1984 would have totaled $2 million ($1.11 a share), a gain of 72 percent over 1983 results calculated on the same basis.
VSE said revenue jumped 33 percent jump in 1984, thanks mostly to increased sales and contracts.