Did you know there are more than 65 companies in the world with revenues in excess of $100 billion? It’s a staggering figure, several times the GDP of many small countries. In fact, the top twenty biggest organisations gross more than $5 trillion dollars each year- an amount large enough to let them purchase a medium-sized country or two if they wanted.
Out of the 65 companies that have over a $100 billion in annual revenue, as many as 21 companies deal with oil and gas (extraction and/or processing), while the rest are a collection of retail giants, automobile manufacturers, utility producers, telecommunications service providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. These companies together provide employment to millions in countries around the world. Many of them have a significant impact on local development and local politics as well, and in some cases this influence extends to global politics and development, too.
We’ve prepared a list of the top ten highest grossing companies in the world as of 2013 (by annual revenue). China, which is beginning to jostle with the US for the top superpower position, is home to three of the companies that feature on the list.
We believe it’s very likely that more and more companies from the developing world will find homes on the list over the next few decades. Oil and gas, stores of which are getting slowly being depleted, will get pricier in the coming few years, so don’t be surprised if the top grosser on the list next year is again an oil and gas corporation.
10 Total S.A - Revenue: $234.3 Billion
Kicking off the top-ten list is Total, an oil and gas “supermajor” based near Paris, France. Total posted revenues of $234.3 billion this year. The company is involved in extracting and exploration of oil and gas, refining, transportation, marketing of petroleum based products, and trading. Its operations also include chemical manufacturing.
Total is led by Christophe de Margerie, who has been in the CEO position since 2007. Total has businesses all over the country and the rest of the world, and is currently in the process of entering the world of renewable and nuclear power production. It has acquired a 60% stake in SunPower, a photovoltaic company from the U.S.
9 Volkswagen – Revenue: $247.6 Billion
Volkswagen, a German automobile manufacturer, is the 9th highest grossing company in the world, with annual revenues of $247.6 billion. The company is based in Wolfsburg, Germany, and it is the third biggest maker of cars in the world (ranked second according to a recent study). Volkswagen spends the greatest amount of money of any automobile manufacturer on research and development.
Volkswagen has a worldwide presence, with manufacturing facilities and showrooms in countries like China, Mexico, South Africa, India and Brazil. Three cars manufactured by Volkswagen- the Beetle, Passat and Golf- all feature in the top 10 best selling cars of all time list (and they are still being made today).
8 Toyota Motor Corporation – Revenue: $265.7 Billion
Toyota Motor Corporation is based in Aichi, Japan. The company is the largest car maker in the world, and has produced more than 200 million vehicles so far. Toyota is the largest company in Japan, both in terms of market capitalization and by revenue. It was founded back in 1937, a separate entity from the already-existing Toyota Industries, with an express purpose of making automobiles.
Toyota is currently a part of the Toyota Group, which is a conglomerate of companies that are related to Toyota Industries Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyota posted revenue figures of $265.7 billion last year.
7 State Grid Corporation of China – Revenue: $298.4 Billion
The State Grid Corporation of China is a power utility company run by the Chinese state. It is the largest power utility company in the world, and is responsible for distributing power in the entire country. The company posted revenues of $298.4 billion this year.
The State Grid Corporation of China emerged out of a need to restructure the country’s existing power distribution and transmission system. The company provides free power to millions of households in China, under the “Power for All” project, and it spends billions of dollars for upkeep of the program.
6 British Petroleum $388.3 billion
Yet another petroleum company in the top ten, British Petroleum has revenues of $388.3 billion per year. The company is based in London, England, and is one of the top employers in the country, with 83, 000 workers on its payroll. BP is operational in 80 countries, and it produces 3.3 million barrels of oil a day.
BP has origins stretching back as far as 1909, when it was called the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It was rechristened “British Petroleum” in 1954. BP has been in the news in recent years thanks to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010), which caused severe environmental damage. The cleanup has racked up a bill of $42 billion and counting.
5 China National Petroleum Corporation – Revenue: $408.6 Billion
The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is another petrochemical company, owned by the Chinese government and headquartered in Beijing. It posted revenues of $408.6 billion this year, making it the fifth highest grosser on our list.
CNPC is the parent company of the better known PetroChina, which is currently the second-largest company in the world by market capitalization. CNPC holds a staggering 3.7 billion barrels of oil reserves, from which it extracts a small amount each year. CNPC has holdings all over the world, in countries like Iraq, Syria, New Zealand, and Canada.
4 Sinopec – Revenue: $428.2 Billion
Sinopec is another petrochemical giant. Based in Beijing, China, the company has revenue of $428.2 billion per annum. It is one of the top three petroleum companies based in China, and is Asia’s largest oil refiner by amount processed per year.
Sinopec was established back in 2000 by the China Petrochemical Corporation Group. Today, less than a decade since it was formed, the company has a presence all over the world. It recently acquired a stake in Apache Corporations’ Egypt operations for $3.1 billion. The company is currently listed on the Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York stock exchanges.
3 ExxonMobil Corp – Revenue: $449.9 Billion
ExxonMobil is an oil and gas company based in Irving, Texas, USA, and comes in third on the list with estimated revenues of $449.9 billion. The company has been around for a very long time- its parent company is Standard Oil, the company that was founded by John D. Rockefeller way back in 1870.
Currently, ExxonMobil has refineries in 21 countries the world over. It has a refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels, which makes it the largest oil refiner in the world, and produces approximately 3% of all the oil in the world. The largest shareholder in the company is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
2 Walmart Stores, Inc – Revenue: $469 Billion
It’s no surprise that the retail giant from America, Walmart, is second on the list of the highest grossing companies in the world. Walmart recorded a staggering $469 billion as revenue as of January 2013, and the company continues to make more and more profits each year.
Walmart runs department stores, retail outlets, and warehouse stores all over America and the world. The company, which is led by Doug McMillon, currently employs more than two million people, making it the largest private employer in the world. Walmart also holds the distinction of being the largest retailer in the world. The Waltons, who together own more than 50 percent of the company, are the richest family in the world, with a combined net worth of $150 billion.
1 Royal Dutch Shell – Revenue: $481.7 Billion
An oil and gas “supermajor,” Royal Dutch Shell is the highest grossing company in the world as of July 8, 2013, with estimated annual revenues of $481.7 billion. Royal Dutch Shell was born out of the merger of Royal Dutch Petroleum and UK Shell Transport & Trading, based in the Netherlands and the UK, respectively.
Royal Dutch Shell, with Peter Voser at the helm, is currently engaged in oil exploration, production, distribution, refining, marketing, power generation, the production of petrochemicals, and trading. The company is owned by a collection of investors and shareholders, with Capital Research Global Investors holding the largest stake in the company (about 10%).