www.alternet.org -- All of these well-known brands are owned and produced by a global conglomerate that deliberately tries to stay little known: Koch Industries (pronounced "coke"). Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch is also a major producer of oil, gas, timber, coal, and cattle. It's a petroleum refiner, too, as well as a manufacturer of asphalt, chemicals, polyethylene plastic, nitrogen fertilizers, cement, and lumber products. It owns or controls some 4,000 miles of pipelines, including a piece of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. And, in a poetic bow to its desire for anonymity, Koch also owns Teflon. With 70,000 employees in 60 countries, this publicity-shy giant is America's second-largest privately owned corporation. Being private means it makes very few disclosures about its finances and operating practices, but we do know that it has sales topping $100 billion a year, which means it is bigger than such corporate giants as Verizon and Morgan Stanley.
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