Forbes Magazine has named six Georgia companies and three from North Carolina to its list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America.

Healthtronics Surgical, a Marietta-based company that provides noninvasive surgical services, was the highest ranked company from Georgia, placing eighth on the Forbes list. It was followed by (with rankings) Manhattan Associates (82) of Atlanta, PRG-Schultz International of Atlanta (105), Alpharetta-based Mapics (106), Atlanta-based Rare Hospitality International (144) and Schweitzer Mauduit International (173) of Alpharetta.

The highest ranked company from North Carolina was Winston-Salem donut maker Krispy Kreme, which placed 27th. It was followed by (with rankings) Pharmaceutical Prod Development (73) of Wilmington and Research Triangle Park-based Embrex (74). No companies from South Carolina made the Forbes list.

“Although some companies have experienced rough waters over the past few years, such as a slip in sales or earnings,” says Forbes.com, “their balance sheets indicate they have the muscle to remain viable entities over the long term.”

For Embrex, an international agricultural biotechnology company focused on the global poultry industry, it was the third consecutive year of appearing on the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America.

“We are certainly proud of this accomplishment from a three-year historical perspective, but we believe the more interesting story is where we are heading,” Randall Marcuson, Embrex president and chief executive officer. “Today we dominate a unique niche that we created–. Our goal is to capture the value from that knowledge in new products that provide value to our customers. In the next three years, we expect to introduce three new products that we believe have the ability to grow our business significantly.”

Forbes looked only at public companies with latest-12-month sales of $5 million to $600 million, a stock price above $5 per share and five-year average return on equity of at least 5 percent. Growth notwithstanding, profitability was a must and every nominee had to earn a net margin of at least 5 percent, excluding extraordinary and nonrecurring items, according to Forbes.com.

A new feature this year was relative stock price strength. The idea was to help Forbes flag companies that were doing particularly well or poorly relative to their peers and the market indexes. Details about Forbes’ Best can be found in the Oct. 28 issue, or online.

Forbes: www.forbes.com