Fortune Global 500 – a changing world order

Picked up a copy of the Fortune at the airport and here’s a quick summary / analysis of the ranking of the Top 500 companies in the world (by revenues) – 2013.

Wal-mart leads the List with a revenue of USD 476bn (almost a quarter of GDP of large countries like India)!! The top 10 companies comprise 2 from the USA (Exxon being the other), 3 from China, 1 each from UK, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland. 7 out of the top 10 are from Petroleum/Oil/Gas/Mining sector (called “Energy” in this piece), Wal-mart the Retail giant, Volkswagen and Toyota from the automobile sector.

Samsung, Apple and Philips lead the tech charge by claiming the 13th, 15th, 19th spots. Berkshire and AXA bring in the Financial services/conglomerate presence at 14th and 16th positions. Rest of the 11th-20th positions are again from the Retail (Total), Automobile (Daimler) and the Energy sectors (Gazprom, E.ON, Chevron).

The “smallest” company in the list of 500 has revenues of USD24bn. The 100th company has 80bn!

Wal-mart is also the largest employer with 2.2mn people working for it, the next 5 companies being Chinese, employing about 5.5mn between them. SBI with 300,000 employees was the only Indian company in the Top 50 employers.

On profits, there are 2 interesting companies at the top with USD 84bn and 49bn, the “protagonists” of the 2008 melt-down, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac themselves !!! Talk about resurgence! Of course, I am not counting Vodafone at the top which has more profits than revenues, thereby making me conclude (without validation) that there is some huge one-time item there.

Going by country, the Top 500 comprises ~130 companies from the USA, 100 from China, 60 from Japan, 30 each from UK, Germany, France. South Korea increased the count for Asian tigers by coming in next with 17 – they are not only Samsung, LG, Hyundai – the growth there has been wider (9 of the 17 are not from one of these 3 Chaebols). Of the non-China BRICs, all 3 – Brazil, India and Russia had 7-8 companies. Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy and Australia also came in the 8-12 bracket.

The Indian giants remained roughly the same as in the last couple of decades now since I started following this list. IOC, Reliance, BPCL, HPCL, Tata Motors, SBI, ONGC and Tata Steel – in order of their ranks. Starting at USD81bn for IOC (rank 96) to USD 73bn for Reliance (rank 114), the two biggies to Tata Steel at the end with USD25bn (rank 486) with all others between USD 28bn and 44bn.

With the largest companies belonging to Energy, Automobile and Retailing, it would be interesting to see if other Indian companies Essar, Jindal, Tata Motors, M&M, Future Group, Reliance Retail can come into these ranks at some point. Going through the Capital-Line List of listed large Indian companies, the following companies currently figure after the Big 8 of the Fortune Global 500 List) :
• Essar Oil Ltd
• Mangalore Refinery And Petrochemicals Ltd
• NTPC Ltd
• Larsen & Toubro Ltd
• Tata Consultancy Services Ltd
• Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd
• GAIL (India) Ltd
• Bharti Airtel Ltd
• Steel Authority of India Ltd.

TCS and Airtel are of course the new-age companies in the Wait List above…hoping to see more e-commerce, Pharma and NBFCs in the list in the coming years…

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