This list of the 25 largest companies in the world is evidence of the enormous size of today’s oil and gas companies: they hold 11 positions in the list. High oil prices have boosted their revenues – and their profits. Automotive companies and finance companies follow, each with 4 companies between the world’s top 25.
The world’s largest company The world’s biggest company is a retail company: Wal-Mart. The company heads the pack for many years already, and it will continue its lead for many years more unless oil prices would double again. With revenues of US$ 404 billion, Wal-Mart is currently at a comfortable distance from number 2, Exxon Mobile, which posted revenues of US$ 302 billion. Royal Dutch Shell follows with US$ 278 billion. Besides Wal-Mart the only other non-energy company in the Top 10 is Toyota, the Japanese car company, ranked 5th.
Ownership All companies in the list are publicly quoted, except Saudi Aramco, which is in the hands of the Saudi Arabian state. When comparing stock market capitalizations, Exxon Mobile tops the rest with a capitalization of US$ 275 billion, almost US$ 100 billion above Wal-Mart.
Origin Nine of the world's largest companies, including number 1 and 2 in the list, originate from a single country: the United States. Adding Petrobras (22) from Brasil, the American continent is equally successful as the European continent, that also has ten companies listed. At the moment, the list counts 4 Asian companies, a number that will probably grow in coming years as China's economy is expanding rapidly.
Technology companies Technology companies are modestly represented in the list. Electronics giant Samsung from South Korea (18) and computer company HP (21) are the world’s largest technology companies measured by total revenues. Siemens, the German conglomerate with many technological products in its broad portfolio, closes the list (25). General Electric, Hitachi and IBM, all companies with significant technology sales are dangling in positions in the 26-35 range.
Conclusion Making sophisticated electronics and software can make a lot of money nowadays, but pumping and refining crude oil is still the path of the greatest cashflow.
Methodology Companies are ranked according to total sales revenues in financial year 2009. Financial companies were listed on their interest income (banks) or premium income (insurers). The list includes public, private and state-owned companies. The ‘top companies in the world’ is a research project of the Top 100 research foundation.