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THE TIMES 100 : A GUIDE TO THE GUIDE : How We Did It, How to Use It: The Times 100

April 27, 1993

This sixth edition of The Times 100, our annual inquiry into the performance of companies headquartered in California, was produced by the Los Angeles Times business staff using data collected and analyzed by STAR Services, a San Francisco-based business research company.

STAR gathered information on 623 California-based companies whose stock is publicly traded, relying on databases, corporate and government reports, a mail survey and phone calls to companies. Certain historical and other data was provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat Inc.

The tables generated by STAR were closely reviewed by Times editors and reporters. Criteria for the rankings were developed by The Times and STAR jointly.

Annual figures for this section may not match the latest fiscal year numbers reported by companies. If a company's fiscal year did not end in November or December, 1992, or January, 1993, then the latest 12-month period ending in one of those months was used to calculate an annual figure. For year-to-year comparisons, the 1992 figures are compared to the corresponding four quarters ending in November or December, 1991, or January, 1992.

Page 50 of this section lists those companies whose fiscal year does not coincide with the calendar year and also lists the 12-month period on which data is based.

Financial data from prior years has not been restated for acquisitions and/or discontinued operations. This allows readers to see actual historical growth for the company, whether from internal growth or through acquisitions.

A few companies have majority-owned subsidiaries that are traded as separate entities. The financial results for these subsidiaries are presented independently as well as on a consolidated basis in the accounts of the parent companies. This applies, for example, to ICN Pharmaceuticals (parent) and SPI Pharmaceuticals.

One California-based company included in the analysis, Union Bank, is 80%-owned by Bank of Tokyo but is traded as a separate entity.

General Criteria

All companies must be publicly traded on one of the major exchanges--New York, American or NASDAQ--and be headquartered in California.

Income is defined as after-tax income from continuing operations and excludes extraordinary items, as well as gains or losses from discontinued operations.

Sales exclude excise taxes, extraordinary income, revenue from discontinued operations and other income, such as interest. For banks and savings and loan associations, revenue equals the sum of interest and non-interest income. For insurance firms, revenue equals the sum of earned premiums, realized gains or losses from investments and net investment income. For all charts except the stock market performance charts, companies must have had at least $50 million in 1992 sales.

Section Notes

The Bottom Line--Return on equity measures the profit a company earns for every dollar common stockholders have invested in the firm. Return on equity is defined as income available to common shareholders divided by the average common shareholder's equity. Income available to common shareholders is calculated by subtracting preferred dividends (if any) from income from continuing operations. The Times 100 table ranks companies by the average return on common equity for the last two years.

For The Times 100 table, companies must have met these criteria: publicly traded since December, 1991; sales in 1992 greater than $50 million; a profit from continuing operations in 1992 and 1991; no negative common equity for either of the last two fiscal years.

Companies in the Top 25 and Bottom 25 in Absolute Profits must have been publicly traded in 1991. Just as the Top 25 in Absolute Profits ranks companies by dollar amount of profits from continuing operations, the Bottom 25 ranks companies by dollar amount of loss. The Top 25 Banks and S&Ls table shows return on assets, which measures the percentage profit for every dollar in assets. Companies must have been publicly traded in 1991 with total assets exceeding $200 million. Return on assets in The Times' list may differ from what is disclosed by the institutions themselves because STAR divides income by the average of assets for the same reporting period. The figure thus reflects profit earned on a constantly growing asset base.

The Top 25 in Profit Margins measures the percentage profit for every dollar in sales. Companies must have been publicly traded in 1992 with total sales exceeding $50 million.

The Born Again table shows companies that have had the greatest turnaround from a loss in 1991 to a profit in 1992.

The Nose Dives table shows companies that have suffered the greatest decrease in earnings from a profit in 1991 to a loss in 1992.

Real estate investment trusts and limited partnerships were not eligible for inclusion in this section because income for these companies, which is not taxed at the company level, is not comparable to after-tax income for corporations.

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