Hormel drops slightly in Fortune 500 rankings

Most of Minnesota’s corporate giants, including Hormel Foods Corp., have slid a few notches in the latest Fortune 500 ranking, released Monday.

Hormel ranks 327th on the list — down two spots from last year — despite posting $474 million in net earnings in 2011. That’s a 20 percent increase in earnings from the previous year, when Hormel ranked 325th. The company was 340 in 2010, 373 in 2009, 390 in 2008 and 403 in 2007.

“Being recognized as one of the largest 500 companies is a testament to the hard work of our more than 19,600 employees,” said Julie Craven, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel. Craven added that the company had a record year in 2011, with all five business segments registering increases.

Of the 19 Minnesota-based corporations on the new list, which is based on annual revenue, 13 have moved down since last year. One was unchanged: the state’s largest, UnitedHealth Group, at 22nd. Five companies moved up.

Still, Minnesota remains a corporate powerhouse, home to 19 large corporations on the list. Only nine states boast more: California, 53, Texas, 52, New York, 50, Illinois, 32, Ohio, 28, Virginia, 24, Pennsylvania, 23, New Jersey, 21, and Michigan, 20.

Grain-and-oil giant CHS Inc., based in Inver Grove Heights, rose 25 notches now stands at No. 78. CHS ranks as the nation’s largest cooperative, and it’s owned by its farmer-members.

Plymouth-based fertilizer maker Mosaic jumped 78 spots in the new ranking, as the Cargill spin-off now stands at No. 268.

But most Minnesota corporations moved down the list, even though the majority also reported higher revenue.

Minneapolis-based discount giant Target Corp. moved five notches lower, to No. 38, even though its revenue grew by $2.5 billion over the past year.

Electronics retailer Best Buy, based in Richfield, dropped six notches, to No. 53, despite slightly higher revenue.

Minnesota lost one of its Fortune 500 companies from last year: defense contractor Alliant Techsystems, which relocated its corporate headquarters to northern Virginia to be closer to the Pentagon.

Exxon Mobile topped the list, swapping places with Walmart. Exxon boasted $453 billion in revenue last year, a 28 percent increase from the previous year. Walmart claimed $447 billion in revenue, a 6 percent increase. Chevron was third and ConocoPhillips was fourth.

Here are the Minnesota companies, their ranking on the 2012 Fortune 500 list, and their annual revenue.

22. UnitedHealth Group, $102 billion

38. Target, $70 billion

53. Best Buy, $50 billion

75. Supervalu, $37 billion

78. CHS, $37 billion

102. 3M, $30 billion

132. U.S. Bancorp, $21 billion

164. Medtronic, $16 billion

181. General Mills, $15 billion

210. Land O’Lakes, $13 billion

246. Xcel Energy, $11 billion

248. Ameriprise Financial, $11 billion

259. C.H. Robinson, $10 billion

268. Mosaic, $10 billion

327. Hormel Foods, $8 billion

332. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, $8 billion

365. Ecolab, $7 billion

437. St. Jude Medical, $6 billion

498. Nash Finch, $5 billion

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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