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How we did it

By HELEN HUNTLEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 2, 2002

To rise to the top of the Times 50 list, you've got to perform. In a nutshell, that's the basis for our Times 50 rankings.

To rise to the top of the Times 50 list, you've got to perform. In a nutshell, that's the basis for our Times 50 rankings.

As in the past, the Times used performance-based measures this year to rank two groups of public companies with an important presence in the Tampa Bay area.

The first group consists of companies that are headquartered in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando or Citrus counties.

The second group consists of companies based elsewhere with more than 1,000 Tampa Bay area employees.

Both groups had to have stock traded on a major national market and at least $3-million a year in revenues.

Using performance-based measures means some well-known companies failed to make the cut.

Those considered for the Tampa Bay list but not ranked high enough to qualify: Coast Dental Services Inc., Ablest Inc., Drugmax Inc., Go 2 Pharmacy Inc., Kforce Inc., Paradyne Networks Inc., Reptron Inc., Digital Fusion Inc., Danka Business Systems PLC and Z-Tel Technologies Inc.

Also considered for the national list based on their Tampa Bay employment were: MetLife Inc., Franklin Resources Inc., Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Marriott International Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Ceridian Corp., Delhaize Group, Media General Inc., Raytheon Co., Verizon Communications Inc., Federated Department Stores Inc., Honeywell International Inc., Continental Airlines Inc., AOL Time Warner Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Kmart Corp.

Within each group, the Times 50 ranking was based on a company's ranking across these four categories:

TOTAL 2001 PROFITS: This is net income after all expenses, including taxes and one-time charges, for the company's fiscal year ended in calendar 2001 or January 2002. This is a simple ranking, with companies that made the most money at the top.

INCREASE IN PROFITABILITY: This is change in net income between 2000 and 2001. When 2000 earnings were negative, the percentage change is based on the absolute difference from year to year. All companies showing a profit in 2001 ranked ahead of those showing a loss.

RETURN ON EQUITY: This is net income divided by average shareholder equity. Average equity was calculated by averaging the year-end figures for 2000 and 2001. Companies with negative shareholder equity ranked at the bottom.

RETURN TO SHAREHOLDERS: This is two-year total return to investors between April 30, 2000, and April 28, 2002. It assumes reinvestment of dividends for those companies paying dividends. All companies with a share price of $2 or more on April 28 were ranked ahead of those with lower share prices.

The information presented in this section came from the companies, Bloomberg News, Yahoo Finance and company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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