- Forbes today released its 16th annual Global 2000 list, a ranking of the biggest, most powerful and most valuable companies in the world. The ranking is based on a combination of four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value.
Chinese companies extend their streak at the top of the Global 2000 list. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is ranked No. 1 for the sixth consecutive year. China Construction Bank remains in the No. 2 spot. The other two of China’s “Big Four” banks – Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China – remain in the top ten, which is evenly split between China and the United States. JPMorgan Chase is now the largest company in the U.S., moving up one spot to No. 3 and overtaking Berkshire Hathaway (No. 4). Rounding out the top ten are Agricultural Bank of China (No. 5), Bank of America (No. 6), Wells Fargo (No. 7), Apple (No. 8), Bank of China(No. 9) and Ping An Insurance (No. 10).
As a group, the Global 2000 accounts for $39.1 trillion in sales, $3.2 trillion in profit, $189 trillion in assets and $56.8 trillion in market value. All metrics are up double digits year-over-year, with profits up an impressive 28%.
“It’s been a strong year for businesses worldwide, and companies on the Forbes 2018 Global 2000 saw their market value, assets, sales and profits jump,” said Halah Touryalai, Deputy Editor, Money & Markets, Forbes Media. “But while this year’s market correction may not hurt the world’s largest public companies’ looming geopolitical challenges, like a trade war, are a different story. With China and the United States making up more than 40% of the Global 2000, the possibility of a trade war between the two is a major risk for global companies.”
This year, there are 131 newcomers to the list. The global IPO market has started to pick up and helped to secure 14 companies on the 2018 list. Essity, a Swedish personal care company, was the highest debut in 2018, at No. 722. Spotify was the most high-profile IPO. The music-streaming company debuted at No. 1644 in large part because of its $27 billion market cap.
M&A saw an uptick in activity. Chemical giants Dow Chemical and E. I. du Pont de Nemours completed their merger in September 2017. The new company, called DowDuPont, is ranked No. 122. Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien (No. 884) is a new company that formed when Agrium and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan merged in January. Other companies left the list after being acquired. In July 2017, British American Tobacco (No. 88) acquired Reynolds American in a deal worth $54.9 billion. Amazon (No. 53) bought Whole Foods in August 2017 for $13.7 billion.
The top ten companies on Forbes’ 2018 Global 2000 list are:
- Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China – banking
- China Construction Bank, China – banking
- JPMorgan Chase, United States – diversified financials
- Berkshire Hathaway, United States – conglomerate
- Agricultural Bank of China, China – banking
- Bank of America, United States – banking
- Wells Fargo, United States – diversified financial
- Apple, United States – technology hardware and equipmen
- Bank of China, China – bankin
- Ping An Insurance, China – insurance
- Oil and gas companies rebounded this year helped in large part by an increase in oil prices. Chevron gained 388 spots and comes it at No. 21 this year. Profits were $10.15 billion compared to losses of $497 million last year. BP is another winner, jumping to No. 36 from No. 359 last year.
- Banks and diversified financials continue to dominate the list with a combined 452 companies. Most saw profits increase year-over-year due to a variety of factors including rising interest rates and tax cuts. Italy’s Unicredit (No. 113) jumped 496 spots to No. 113. The company improved on all four metrics, a sign that its turnaround plan is working.
- 2018 Top 5 Country Breakdown:
- United States: 560
- China (mainland and Hong Kong): 291
- Japan: 228
- United Kingdom: 88
- South Korea: 67
- Notable gainers include:
- Glencore at No. 64 vs. No. 417 in 2017
- Sony at No. 86 vs. No. 449 in 2017
- Shire at No. 246 vs. No. 562 in 2017
- Rolls Royce at No. 341 vs. No. 758 in 2017
The Global 2000 list is based on four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value. Forbes uses an equal weighting of all four metrics to rank companies according to size. Each company receives a separate score for each metric. Forbes adds up all the scores to compile a composite score. The highest composite score gets the highest rank.