PremierWest Bancorp continues to climb up the Seattle Times' Northwest 100 list of publicly traded companies.

PremierWest Bancorp continues to climb up the Seattle Times' Northwest 100 list of publicly traded companies.

The Medford-based bank holding company jumped to No. 18 on the Seattle Times' list from No. 40 last year and No. 43 two years ago.

The rankings are based on fiscal 2006 performance with points scored for such elements as market capitalization, price-to-earnings ratio, profitability, operating income, sales growth, sales per employee, debt and dividends.

PremierWest's stock price rose 19 percent from 2004 through 2006. Its operating income during that period increased 24 percent, while during fiscal year 2006 its revenue per employee was $186,099 and return on equity for the review 2004-2006 period was 14 percent. At the end of fiscal 2006, the company's market value was $259 million.

"When I saw the criteria, I thought, 'Yeah, we do a pretty good job in most of those areas,' " said PremierWest Chief Executive Officer John Anhorn.

"You've got to keep earnings moving up and we work hard at it. But in this, it's kind of how you balance out your whole financial institution."

PremierWest posted an aggregate score of 9,305. PW Eagle, a Eugene-based manufacturer and distributor of plastic pipe and fittings, came in No. 1 with a 12,475 score.

Lithia Motors, which topped the Northwest 100 back in 1999, continued to slip, partly reflecting the reality of the marketplace and partly demonstrating getting bigger doesn't necessarily mean a good showing. (Microsoft was No. 45, while Nike was No. 52). Lithia ranked No. 92, dropping from No. 74, with 4,800 points.

Lithia's stock price declined 8 percent from 2004 through 2006. Its operating income during that period ballooned by 115 percent, while its fiscal year 2006 revenue per employee was $506,771 and return on equity was 10 percent during the 2004-2006 review. At the end of fiscal 2006, the company's market value was $562 million.

Among other entities on the list with a presence in the Rogue Valley were: Bend-based Cascade Bancorp at No. 6, up from No. 16; Umpqua Holdings of Portland, parent company for Umpqua Bank, at No. 32, after being No. 52 a year ago; retailer Coldwater Creek, which remained at No. 36; Washington Mutual, jumping to No. 39 from No. 68; temporary employee provider Labor Ready dropping to No. 41 from No. 21; Avista at No. 46, up from No. 112; Red Lion, slipping to No. 71 from No. 70; and Costco, which improved to No. 76 from No. 86.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.