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The Worst-Run Companies of 2009

MILLBURN, N.J. ( TheStreet) -- Every October for the past three years, I have presented my list of the worst-run companies in the U.S. It is time to unveil 2009's list of ignominious public corporations, but first, let's turn back the clock and see how past honorees have fared:

2006 Inductees

Alcoa (AA - Get Report): The company and its stock have floundered the past few years, suffering from the lack of aluminum demand and the concurrent decline in aluminum prices. The best decision that management has made in recent history was to raise $1.3 billion in March through a series of common stock and convertible debt offerings. The Cash for Clunkers program may have helped boost some short-term auto production, and demand from Boeing (BA - Get Report) for its 787 Dreamliner is beginning to get off the ground. Other than that, the revenue side of Alcoa's business model remains constrained. Alcoa is still alive and may survive, but it still has a whole host of operational and management issues to overcome.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU - Get Report): This telecommunications company was never able to rejuvenate itself after the tech and telecom bust nearly a decade ago. Alcatel has cleaned up its balance sheet and is managing to survive to some extent, but it is still on the endangered company list.

Cablevision (CVC - Get Report): The Dolan family has managed to destroy shareholder value while increasing its own wealth for many years. Cablevision is saddled with debt and has negative book value, yet the company has managed to collect a series of prime properties. The New York Knicks, a Cablevision asset, are a long-term laughingstock of the NBA and will have to sign Lebron James to save the franchise. But Cablevision has managed to endure a global debt crisis and deep recession, so while the company is poorly managed, it appears to be a survivor.

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