Ranking Methodology Waltham, Mass.-based Primark tapped database of more than 28,000 firms. For its fifth annual ranking of the world's largest publicly held manufacturing companies, IndustryWeek has partnered with Waltham, Mass.-based Primark Corp. Primark is a $500 million global information services company that serves financial, corporate, and government decision makers through 86 offices in 24 countries. Its customers are located in 61 countries. More than 1,000 of Primark's 3,000 employees are engaged in the collection of financial and economic data. Primark's global databases were used to identify all publicly held manufacturing firms meeting IndustryWeek SIC code criteria. The actual cutoff for inclusion in the IW 1000 was $1.65 billion. Primark obtained the latest available financial data on these companies. This process was supplemented with Internet-based research. Erik L. Fine, a Charlotte, N.C.-based information consultant, managed the data project. Manufacturing companies were defined according to criteria established by IW. Those criteria included: companies with a majority of their business in a manufacturing industry; computer software companies whose primary business is the manufacture of software programs; oil and gas companies that derive approximately 50% of their revenues from the refining of oil and gas products; and companies that derive approximately 50% of their revenues from the manufacture of mined materials. Because all publicly held manufacturing companies were eligible, a number of subsidiary or associated companies that are publicly traded separately from their parent company made the list along with the parent. The data elements are based on information obtained directly from publications issued by the corporations. To more accurately reflect the company's core business, revenue numbers do not include revenue from noncontinuing operations. Currency valuations in U.S. dollars were made using rates as of Dec. 31, 1999. Where 1999 data are not available, 1998 data are given. An asterisk next to the company name on the IW 1000 list indicates that 1998 data were used. Where 1998 figures are given, profit growth is for 1997-98. A not-meaningful code (NM) was used for the return on equity and debt-to-equity ratios when equity was negative. In instances where companies showed negative net income for the comparative year, an "NM" appears in the profit-growth column. An "NA" appears in cases where data were not available. Readers should keep in mind that accounting standards and terminology vary from country to country. Direct comparisons of figures, even when terms appear to be the same, can be misleading.