Companies landing atop the heap in the region's growth category this year generally can boast double-digit gains across all performance categories -- firing on all cylinders as the saying goes.
The growth rankings consider four standard measures of performance: how much revenues have grown, how much profits have grown, how much the company's stock price rose and how effectively management used shareholders' money to generate profits -- a ratio known as return on equity.
The growth rankings give the region's smaller companies a fighting chance to make it to the top of the charts.
Unlike the formula used to anoint Pittsburgh's overall top performer, the growth formula ignores a company's market capitalization, actual revenue and actual net income, so that size is taken out of the equation.
This year's winner was RTI International Metals, which saw profits more than triple in 2012 to $23.5 million on revenue that shot up almost 40 percent. That performance, plus a nearly 20 percent gain in the company's stock price, more than made up for a subpar 3.2 percent return on equity.
The Moon-based titanium maker has benefitted from a push into lucrative markets in the aerospace and medical device industries while lessening its reliance on federal defense business.
Capturing the No. 2 spot was Wilmerding-based Wabtec, a maker of components for locomotives, mass transit buses and subway and freight cars.
Like the remainder of the top five, Wabtec posted double-digit gains in all four performance categories, including a nearly 50 percent jump in profits that were led higher by a resurgence in the rail industry.
Philadelphia-based cable TV/entertainment giant Comcast finished at No. 3, aided most by a nearly 60 percent boost in its stock price.
Rounding out the top five were two retailers: Downtown-based vitamin and supplement leader GNC Holdings -- pumped up by an 88 percent surge in profits -- followed by the Cranberry teen clothing company rue21, which skipped down the runway with a 31 percent gain in its stock price.
-- Patricia Sabatini: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3066 First Published May 3, 2013 4:00 AM