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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

China, India rise while US slips in Fortune company rankings

The number of US firms among the Fortune 500 list of top global companies slipped to the lowest level in over a decade while Chinese, Indian and Mexican firms gained, the magazine reported Wednesday.

The business publication said that US-based Wal-Mart Stores remained at the top of the list of the world’s biggest companies by revenue at some 378 billion dollars.

But the number of US firms in the top 500 fell to 153, the lowest in over a decade.

Number two on the list was US oil giant ExxonMobil with 372 billion dollars in revenue, followed by Royal Dutch Shell (355 billion); British-based BP (291 billion); Japan’s Toyota Motor (230 billion); US oil firm Chevron (210 billion); Dutch bank ING Group (201 billion); French-based oil giant Total (187 billion); US automaker General Motors (182 billion); and US oil firm ConocoPhillips (178 billion).

Overall, revenues for the Global 500 companies were 23.6 trillion dollars, up 13 percent, and profits were up 3.9 percent to 1.6 trillion dollars.

The US still had the most companies on the list, but a falling dollar became an advantage to non-US based companies, Fortune said. Japan had 64 firms and France had 39 to edge out Germany with 37 and Britain’s 34.

But China had an unprecedented total of 29 companies on the list — as many as Italy, Spain, and Australia combined. The top Chinese firm was Sinopec with 159 billion dollars in revenues.

India had seven companies led by Indian Oil and Reliance Industries. Russia had five, the biggest being Gazprom.

US firms that fell off the list included the defunct investment firm Bear Stearns, along with Nike, and the Gap.

While the Fortune ranking is based only on revenues, other rankings use profits or other factors. ExxonMobil remained the most profitable with 40.6 billion dollars in net income in 2007.

The biggest loss was General Motors’ 38.7 billion. — AFP

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