Three companies listed on the JSE have once again cracked
the Fortune 500 list of the world's biggest companies. Two have moved up
in the rankings, while one as moved lower.
The biggest company listed on the JSE, BHP Billiton, has
lost ground, slipping from position number 281 in the world to 302 this
year, but Anglo American and Old Mutual have shifted higher.
None of the three companies in the Fortune 500
list are registered in the survey as South African firms. Both Anglo
American and Old Mutual are dual-listed in Johannesburg and London and
rate in the Fortune survey as British, while BHP Billiton formed through
the merger of Antipodean BHP and South Africa's Billiton in 2001, is
registered as Australian.
US firms take the three top spots in the research.
Wal-Mart, which grew revenues by 12.2% last year to $246.5bn, retains
its number one spot, while last year's number three, General Motors,
moves up to second place. Exxon Mobil saw revenues decline by nearly 5%
to $182bn and slipped from 2nd into 3rd position ahead of European fuel
producers Royal Dutch/Shell and BP.
Five of the top ten are vehicle manufacturers: General
Motors, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota and Mitsubishi, three produce
petroleum products, one, Wal-Mart is a mass market retailer and the
other, is General Electric which is at position number 9.
Overall, the Fortune 500 statistics paint a gloomy picture
for global business.
Revenues of the US dominated top 500 companies fell during
2002 by $281bn.
American companies accounted for 93% of the total profit
decline, but British firms saw profits rise 50% and South Korean
corporations were up 29%.
The worst performing company, ironically enough, is AOL
Time Warner, the parent company of the Fortune publisher. It lost
$98.7bn-more than the GDP of Chile and Vietnam. According to Fortune the
loss was the biggest in US corporate history.
The JSE listed companies are way out of the mega leagues.
With revenues of nearly $250bn, Wal-Mart dwarfs BHP Billiton which had
revenues of $15.9bn, Anglo at $15.1bn and Old Mutual at $13.65bn. But
the move by the latter two up the league tables, shows that firms with
South African roots are starting to make a significant impression
Despite a 15% drop in sterling profits for the year to the
end of December, Old Mutual receives the accolade of being one of the
world's top fifty revenue gainers. Dollar revenues rose 23.2% in the
period under review to $13.65bn putting it at number 366 on the Fortune
500 list, up from 453, and 23rd on a list of top British companies.
Anglo American, up to position 328 from 341 saw profits
plunge last year, but grew dollar revenues by 2.4% over the same period.
The lacklustre performance by its US competitors ensured its move up the
South Africa's other rapidly expanding global firm,
SABMiller does not rate in the top 500, despite its aggressive
acquisition spree into the established US and European markets over the
past two years. Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Enterprises are in top position
among beverage firms, while global number one brewer Anheuser Busch
rates at number three.