Wal-Mart has been ranked No. 1 on the 2013 Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue. The Bentonville-based retail giant reclaimed the top spot from ExxonMobil. In fiscal year 2012, Wal-Mart posted revenues of $443.9 billion, a 5.9 percent gain. Also, Little Rock-based Windstream Corp. joined the rankings for the first time at No. 414. Other Arkansas firms on the Fortune 500 list include Tyson Foods (No. 93), Murphy Oil (No. 104), Dillard’s (No. 378), and J.B. Hunt (No. 486).

Roger Jenkins to become new Murphy Oil CEO

Murphy Oil Corp. announced that its President and CEO Steve Cossé intends to step down from his post later this year after a spin-off of the company’s downstream operations. The Murphy Oil board of directors said Roger Jenkins will succeed Cossé as President and CEO. Jenkins is currently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He joined Murphy Oil in 2001 and has held posts that include stints in exploration and production.

Tyson Foods sees quarterly profits slip

Struggles in all major segments of its business led Tyson Foods to a lower quarter of net income. The Springdale-based meat giant posted second quarter earnings of $95 million, down from $166 million one year ago. Revenues for Tyson Foods rose to $8.42 billion, up from $8.27 billion in last year’s second quarter. "Our second quarter typically is our most challenging, and this quarter was no exception," said Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods’ president and CEO.

Windstream plans to expand data centers as business mix shifts

Windstream continued to see solid growth in its data and broadband services, but the Little Rock-based telecom still saw quarterly revenues slip and net income decline. Windstream posted 2013 first quarter net income of $52.3 million on revenue of $1.5 billion. One year ago, the company posted net income of $60.4 million on revenue of $1.54 billion.

Still, Windstream officials were upbeat as they noted an improving portfolio of services that tilted away from traditional landline services to a mix of fiber, broadband and data center offerings. CEO Jeff Gardner said Windstream would open four new data centers across the country in the coming year.

Report:YRC made bid to acquire Arkansas Best Freight division

According to trade publication DC Velocity, trucking giant YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch met March 22 in Fort Smith with Arkansas Best President and CEO Judy McReynolds to discuss the idea of a buyout. According to the report, Arkansas Best officials declined a detailed discussion on the YRC offer, and have said no further talks have been held on the matter.

MISO to establish regional headquarters in Little Rock

Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), a regional transmission organization that will be Entergy Arkansas’ new home for transmission coordination, will open a regional headquarters in Little Rock hiring 35 to 50 new white-collar jobs. The regional operations center, which will invest $5-8 million, will serve as the hub for MISO’s new Southern Region. Average salaries for the new hires will be about $85,000.

Pipeline closing could hurt Central Arkansas economy

A proposed plan by Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners to cease providing jet fuel by pipeline to Little Rock and Jonesboro has business and political leaders looking for supply alternatives and methods to halt the July 1 cutoff date. Enterprise has filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to end the distribution of ultra-low sulfur diesel used by the trucking industry and commercial jet fuel.

Company officials say decline in product demand and the high cost to maintain the pipeline have made it necessary to close the "Enterprise TE Products" pipeline. Aviation officials in Arkansas said the pipeline’s closure could boost costs for aviation interests.

AG McDaniel organizing Clearinghouse for Mayflower victims

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced Tuesday that he is mobilizing his office resources into a dedicated clearinghouse for the victims of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline oil spill that occurred March 29 in Mayflower. McDaniel has set up a toll-free phone number and a dedicated e-mail address to collect "as much data as possible" from anyone affiliated in the affected area.

State auditor Charlie Daniels to retire

Auditor of State Charlie Daniels will not seek re-election in 2014 after nearly three decades of holding elective office. Daniels, a former Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands and Secretary of State, is eligible for one more term as Auditor. He will be 74 in December and says it is time to retire and spend more time with his family. "After a good deal of consideration and discussion with my family and staff, I have decided not to seek re-election as auditor of state next year," Daniels said.


Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his website address is www.talkbusiness.net