Sales and profits of the world’s largest companies soar as economies reopen

Two years into the pandemic, Covid victims like airlines and oil producers have reclaimed the top spots among the world’s biggest companies.

AAs the world emerges from a painful pandemic, the sales and profits of the world’s largest companies are higher, but many companies continue to face economic challenges linked to bottlenecks in the supply chain and a spike in inflation.

Over the past 12 months, the 2,000 companies on the list have seen their collective market capitalization fall by 4% to $76.5 trillion, while their collective sales have increased by 20% to $47.8 trillion and their profits doubled to $5 trillion. (Asset value, the fourth part of our composite scores, rose 5% to $234 trillion. All figures are as of April 22.)


About three-quarters of the companies on the Global 2000 list are based in just 10 countries. The United States and China remain the countries with the most listed companies, followed by Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom.

This year’s Global 2000 features many companies that have experienced a reversal of fortunes since the early months of 2020. Giant energy companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron ranked in the 300 last year but have now climbed to the 15th, 16th and 26th places, respectively, on this year’s list. Airlines have seen similar rebounds, the most notable being Southwest Airlines, which jumped 227 places to land at No. 630 this year.


Despite the recent stock market carnage, 2021 has been a strong year for IPOs. Of the 28 newcomers to our list, 25 arrived via a recent IPO, including Universal Music Group (#890), Rivian (#1439), and DiDi (#1321). Daimler Truck Holding (#323) is our best newcomer after parting ways with Mercedes.


OWe compile our Global 2000 list using data from FactSet Research systems to select the largest public companies based on four parameters: sales, earnings, assets and market value. Our market value calculation is as of April 22, 2021 closing price and includes all outstanding common shares.

All figures are consolidated and in US dollars. We use the last 12 months of financial data available to us as of April 22, 2022. We rely heavily on databases for all data, as well as the latest available financial period for our rankings. Many factors play into the financial period of data available to companies and used in our rankings: the timeliness of our data collection/filtering and company reporting policies, country-specific reporting policies, and the lag between the when a company publishes its financial data and when databases capture it for screening/ranking. We verify the quality of the uploaded financial data using other data sources and the company’s available financial statements.


Since 2018, COVID-19 vaccine makers like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have been gaining ground on the Forbes Global 2000 list. J&J has fallen from 145th place in 2018 to 39th this year, and Pfizer has fallen from 44th to 43rd place. After falling from 161st to 213th last year, Astra Zeneca fell in our rankings this year to 461st place. , which was not on our list before the pandemic, has gone from its 2020 debut at No. 1,970 to No. 372 on this year’s chart.

We first create four separate lists of the 2000 largest companies in each of the measures: sales, profits, assets and market value. Each of the 2,000 lists has a minimum threshold value for a company to qualify: sales of $5.5 billion, profits of $493 million, assets of $13.7 billion, and market value of $7.6 billion. dollars. A company must qualify for at least one of the lists to be eligible for the final Global 2000 ranking. This year, 3,550 companies were needed to complete the four 2000 lists. Each company qualifies for at least one of the lists. Companies are given a separate score for each metric based on its ranking on the 2000 list. We add all the scores for the four metrics (weighted equally) and compile a composite score for each company based on its ranking for sales , earnings, assets and market value. We sort companies in descending order by highest composite score, then apply our Forbes World Ranking 2000. The highest composite score gets the highest rank.


The banking industry continues to dominate Forbes Global 2000, with over $6.5 trillion in market value and nearly $113 trillion in combined assets. With rising prices in construction and manufacturing, the materials industry moved into the top five industries for the first time this year.

Publicly listed subsidiaries whose parent company consolidates figures are excluded from our list. For most countries, earnings consolidation occurs when ownership is above 50%.

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