Quintiles, SAS move up Forbes' largest private company list

Posted November 5, 2010 9:06 a.m. EDT

— Quintiles and SAS, two of the Triangle’s premier companies, bucked the tough economic trend in 2009 by growing their revenues. As a result, the firms climbed more than 20 places on the annual Forbes magazine list of America’s largest privately held companies.

Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of services such as clinical trials as well as investment to life science firms worldwide, vaulted 27 spots on the list to No. 133 from 2008.

SAS, one of the world’s largest privately held software firms, climbed 23 spots to No. 188.

Forbes’ overall list contains 223 firms with $1.3 trillion in annual revenues and 4.4 million employees, but the global recession took its toll on many of those companies with sales declining 13 percent from 2008.

“Closely held companies, insulated from the disposition of public investors, are still subject to the pains of a weakened economy,” Forbes noted.

However, Quintiles grew revenues by 7.1 percent to $3 billion from 2008.

SAS, meanwhile, drove its sales up 2.2 percent to $2.31 billion from the previous year.

SAS co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight also told a reporter recently that the company had increased revenues this year some 5 percent.

The magazine also noted that Goodnight is one of only 24 of its Forbes 400 richest list who is CEO of a company on the private firm list.

Goodnight ranks third with a net worth of $6.9 billion, Forbes said.

Charles Koch of Koch Industries is first with a net worth of $21.5 billion.

Edward Johnson III of Fidelity Investments, which has a major presence in the Triangle, is second at $7.1 billion.