Top 50: PNC still profit leader

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For the third year in a row, PNC Financial Services Group rules the roost as the most profitable publicly traded company in Pittsburgh, and for the second year in a row, U.S. Steel is in second place -- although both companies' profits were down significantly from 2006.

PNC Financial tallied $1.5 billion in net income for 2007, down 43 percent from $2.6 billion in 2006; U.S. Steel's 2007 bottom line of $879 million is 36 percent less than the $1.4 billion in profits that it enjoyed in 2006.

The Bank of New York's acquisition of Mellon Financial removed a perennial top earner from the list. The No. 3 spot held by Mellon in 2006 was taken by PPG Industries, with $834 million in profits for 2007, a 17 percent increase from $711 million in 2006. That position is one step higher than its 2006 ranking.

In like fashion, H.J. Heinz and Allegheny Technologies each moved up one notch to land at positions four and five on this year's list -- Heinz, with an increase to $786 million in net income, from $646 million; and Allegheny with an increase to $747 million, from $572 million.

Allegheny Energy made a bigger move in the rankings, to No. 6, with $412 million in profits, from No. 9, with $320 million. American Eagle Outfitters, with $400 million, moved to No. 7, from No. 8 last year, with $387 million.

Nova Chemicals made the biggest move among this year's Top 10. Last year, the company's $703 million loss kept it off the list entirely; now it has vaulted to the No. 8 slot with net income of $347 million.

Rounding out the top 10 are Consol Energy Inc., which slipped to No. 9 with earnings of $268 million, after being ranked seventh a year ago, with $409 million; and Equitable Resources with profits of $257 million, up from last year's $220 million and 11th place ranking.

A pair of companies became eligible for the list when they went public last year. Monaca-based Horsehead Holding Corp.'s $91 million put it 21st position for the year; and HFF, formerly Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, secured the 28th slot with earnings of $52 million.

RTI International Metals, a titanium manufacturer, moved its headquarters from Niles, Ohio, to Moon, and landed at the No. 20 spot on our list with $93 million in profits.

Net income, as an absolute number, is only one measure of a company's performance. Another, which some consider as important, is how much a company's income grows year to year. By that measure, the top performer for 2006 was Green Tree-based L.B. Foster. Foster's 718 percent increase in profits made it the only company to land in the Top 10 for three years running, easily outdistancing second-place Ansys, which posted a 482 percent increase.

Koppers took third place with a 316 percent increase. Calgon Carbon is the only company other than L.B. Foster to return to the Top 10 from last year; its 296 percent increase put it in fourth place. Saxonburg-based II-VI closes out the top five with a 252 percent increase.

Most of the remaining five in the top 10 are familiar names: Nova Chemicals, with a 149 percent increase; Ampco-Pittsburgh, up 136 percent; Atlas Energy Resources, up 102 percent; and iGate, up 79 percent. Horsehead Holding Corp. landed in the 10th position with a 67 percent increase in net income.

Return to Top 50 Index

Elwin Green can be reached at or 412-263-1969.


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