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What Is The Post 200?
The Post 200 starts with a list of the 125 largest public companies with headquarters in Washington and its suburbs.

Monday, May 1, 2006

The Post 200 starts with a list of the 125 largest public companies with headquarters in Washington and its suburbs. Completing the 200 are the 20 largest financial institutions headquartered in Maryland, Virginia or the District; the 15 largest private companies headquartered in the metro area; and the 20 largest public companies each in Maryland and Virginia with headquarters outside the metro area. How the section is compiled:

Collecting the Information

More than 260 companies based in the District, Virginia or Maryland are surveyed by The Washington Post. Information provided by companies is cross-checked against audited financial statements and annual reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Private companies that do not provide audited financial statements are taken at their word, but figures provided are compared when possible with information from other sources and with companies of similar size in the same industry. Financial institution figures come from the institution wherever possible and are cross-checked against SEC documents and data on file with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Stock price data and related information, such as market capitalization and dividends, are from Bloomberg News. In all cases, numbers are reported using generally accepted accounting principles.

Ranking the Companies

All public and private companies are ranked by annual revenue, except the financial institutions, which are ranked by assets. This year, the list of 125 public companies includes a number of "unranked" entries, representing firms that have been included in The Post 200 in the past but have not yet reported their results for 2005. Two companies -- Advisory Board Co. and Legg Mason Inc. -- provided audited financial statements for the 2005 calendar year, though their fiscal years may differ (as noted by asterisks in the appropriate charts). Companies with a fiscal year ended March 31 or later are ranked on performance that is more than a year old.

Determining Eligibility

All public companies with headquarters in the District, Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Companies under U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection are included if their stock is still in public hands and if they filed audited financial statements with the SEC. Companies that have agreed to mergers are included if the merger was not completed by April 24. Three large nonprofit corporations are included among the private companies based on their revenue.

Geographic Boundaries

The lists of the top 125 public companies and top 15 private companies are restricted to companies in the District; in Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard and Charles counties, and in Anne Arundel County east to Annapolis and north to Linthicum in Maryland; and in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Fauquier, Frederick, Culpeper and Prince William counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax in Virginia.

The Maryland and Virginia public-company lists include firms based outside the D.C. metro area, such as in Baltimore and Richmond. The list of financial institutions includes companies based in Maryland, Virginia and the District that do business in the Washington area. The largest employers not based in the Washington area are not counted among The Post 200.

Earnings Per Share

Reported on a fully diluted basis.

Dividends

Reported on an annual, per-share basis.

Market Capitalization, Stock Performance

Market capitalization is a company's worth computed by multiplying its stock price by the number of its outstanding shares at the close of trading on March 31. Intraday highs and lows are for the 52-week period ended March 31.

Abbreviations

CEO: chief executive officer. COO: chief operating officer. CFO: chief financial officer. EVP: executive vice president. SVP: senior vice president. NYSE: New York Stock Exchange. Amex: American Stock Exchange. Nasdaq: Nasdaq Stock Market. OTC: Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board.

Ranking the Companies

All public and private companies are ranked by annual revenue, except the financial institutions, which are ranked by assets. This year, the list of 125 public companies includes a number of "unranked" entries, representing firms that have been included in The Post 200 in the past but have not yet reported their results for 2005. Two companies -- Advisory Board Co. and Legg Mason Inc. -- provided audited financial statements for the 2005 calendar year, though their fiscal years may differ (as noted by asterisks in the appropriate charts). Companies with a fiscal year ended March 31 or later are ranked on performance that is more than a year old.

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