The rankings are based on a combination of the sales, profits, assets and market capitalization of these companies. Check out the world’s top ten companies.
1. HSBC Holdings
“We have a clear strategy; it is focused on investing and developing our powerful emerging markets franchises. We will continue to do that,” Stephen Green, chairman, HSBC. The ‘world’s local bank’ is HSBC’s tagline. Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. It comprises of over 10,000 offices in 83 countries across Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. HSBC is listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges. Shares in HSBC Holdings plc are held by around 200,000 shareholders. HSBC offers a range of financial services: personal financial services, commercial banking, corporate, investment banking and markets and private bank. HSBC Holdings has reported sales to the tune of $146.50 billion and profits of $19.13 billion in 2007.
History: The HSBC Group is named after its founding member, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, which was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between Europe, India and China. The inspiration behind the founding of the bank was Thomas Sutherland, who was then working for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Seeing the potential of local banking facilities in Hong Kong and on the China coast and he helped to establish the bank which opened in Hong Kong in March 1865 and in Shanghai a month later.
|2. General Electric|
“We are going to solve tough customer and global problems and make money solving it,” Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE. Imagination at work, says the GE tagline. Innovation and research are the strongholds of GE. In 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon wearing boots made of GE’s silicone rubber. GE has four strong businesses in the financial services, infrastructure, and media markets. GE Capital offers an astonishing array of products and services aimed at enabling commercial businesses and consumers worldwide. The company prides helps build the healthcare, transportation, and technology infrastructure across the globe. General Electric’s sales stand at $172.74 billion and profits at $22.21 billion in 2007.
History of research
GE’s research started in a barn in 1900 when General Electric Company completed eight years. The barn saw company’s major breakthrough technologies. One of the earliest projects of the new lab was incandescent lighting. GE scientists have thousands of patents, and two Nobel prizes: Irving Langmuir won the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1932 and Ivar Giaever won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973.
|3. Bank of America|
“Bank of America helps build strong communities by creating opportunities for people – including customers, shareholders and associates – to fulfill their dreams.” Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman, CEO and president. Bank of America is the largest commercial bank in the United States in terms of deposits and second largest by market capitalization. The bank also offers talking ATMs which help customers who are visually impaired. The Bank of America sales is at $119.9 billion and profits are at 14.98 billion in 2007.
Before 1998, Bank of America organization was known as NationsBank. In 1998, NationsBank acquired San Francisco-based BankAmerica and renamed the corporation “Bank of America”.
|4. JPMorgan Chase|
“Our expectation is for the economic environment to continue to be weak in spite of the environment, we are confident that we are building an increasingly strong and profitable company.” James Dimon. JPMorgan Chase is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.8 trillion. With an employee strength of 1, 80,000, the company operates in more than 60 countries. It is a leading player in investment banking, financial services for consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. JPMorgan Chase reported sales to the tune of $116.35 billion and profits stood at $15.37 billion in 2007. Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., was founded in New York in 1799. The firm is built on the foundation of nearly 1,000 institutions that have come together over the years to form today’s company. JPMorgan Chase traces its beginnings to the Bank of The Manhattan Company, which was founded by Aaron Burr in 1799 and became one of the leading banking institutions in the nation. In the 1800s, many new banks were formed across America. JPMorgan Chase has links to many of these early institutions, including the Western Reserve Bank, one of the first banks in Ohio and a predecessor of Bank One, which merged with JPMorgan Chase in 2004.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American oil and gas corporation and a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. The company was formed on November 31, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. It is also the largest publicly held corporation by market capitalization, at $501.17 billion on April 18, 2008. Exxon’s reserves were 72 billion oil-equivalent barrels at the end of 2007 and are expected to last over 14 years. While it is the largest of the six oil giants with daily production of 4.18 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in 2007, ExxonMobil is 14th in the world when ranked by held oil and gas reserves. Rex W. Tillerson is the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil reported sales to the tune of $358.60 billion and profits stood at $40.61 billion in 2007.
Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of the John D. Rockefeller Corporation, Standard Oil which was established in 1870. In 1911, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Standard Oil must be dissolved and split into 34 companies. Two of these companies were Jersey Standard (Standard Oil Company of New Jersey), which eventually became Exxon, and Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York), which eventually became Mobil.
|6. Royal Dutch Shell|
“This is a very exciting – though daunting – time for our industry. The world is racing ahead with ever-increasing energy needs. We are under pressure to keep up. But this race does not have only one winner. This is a race all of us must win.” Linda Cook, Executive Director of Royal Dutch Shell. Royal Dutch Shell is an MNC oil company with Dutch and British origins. It is the second largest private sector energy corporation in the world, and one of the six oil super majors. The company’s headquarters are in The Hague, Netherlands, with its registered office in London (Shell Centre). Oil giant Shell has over 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) resources under construction. Shell has been exploring and producing oil and gas for more than a century. The exploration and production work is going on in nearly 40 countries and the company employs around 35,000 people. Royal Dutch Shell reported sales to the tune of $355.78 billion and profits stood at $31.33 billion in 2007.
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies was created in February 1907 when the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and the “Shell” Transport and Trading Company Ltd of the United Kingdom merged their operations. After the merger, 60 per cent of the new Group went to the Dutch arm and 40 per cent to the British. In 1833, the company founder’s father, Marcus Samuel, founded an import business to sell seashells to collectors in London. When collecting seashell specimens in the Caspian Sea area in 1892, Samuel realized the potential of exporting oil from the region and commissioned the world’s first purpose-built oil tanker, the Murex to foray into this market.
BP has transformed itself from a local oil company into a global energy group employing over 96,000 people and operating in over 100 countries worldwide. BP has reported sales to the tune of $281.03 billion and profits stood at $20.60 billion in 2007. Tony Hayward is the group chief executive of BP, earlier known as British Petroleum. With headquarters in London, the company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world.
British Petroleum merged with Amoco (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana) in December 1998, becoming BPAmoco until 2000 when it was renamed BP and adopted the tagline ‘Beyond Petroleum’. Most Amoco gas stations in the United States have changed the look and name to the BP brand. The highest grade of BP gasoline available in the United States is still called Amoco Ultimate.
8. Toyota Motor Co
Toyota Motors is 70-years old. Headquartered in Japan, it is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. The company was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spinoff from his father’s company Toyota Industries to manufacture automobiles. Fujio Cho, is the chairman of the company. Toyota also owns and operates Lexus and Scion brands. Toyota’s management philosophy is ‘lean manufacturing’ and ‘just in time production’. Toyota continues to promote localization, based on the principle of producing vehicles in those countries or regions where demand exists. In Japan, Toyota has equipped Takaoka plant with the company’s most-advanced technologies. In R&D, Toyota is continuing to focus its efforts in the three key areas of the environment, safety and energy. Toyota has positioned hybrid technologies as core technologies that can contribute to resolving environmental issues. Toyota Motor Co reported sales to the tune of $203.80 billion and profits stood at $13.99 billion in 2007.
Sakichi Toyoda invented the wooden Toyoda handloom in 1890. In 1894, Kiichiro Toyoda born. In 1924, Sakichi Toyoda completed the non-stop shuttle change type Toyoda automatic loom (Type G). In 1929, Kiichiro Toyoda traveled to Europe and the United States to investigate automobiles. The British company, Platt Brothers, gained the automatic loom patent rights. In 1931, Kiichiro Toyoda started research into gasoline-powered engines.
|9. ING Group|
ING is a global financial services company providing banking, investments, and life insurance and retirement services. The company serves more than 75 million customers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Based on market capitalization (31 March 2008), ING is one of the 20 largest financial institutions worldwide. The ING Group reported sales to the tune of $197.93 billion and profits stood at $12.65 billion in 2007. The group is led by Michel Tilmant.
ING was founded in 1991 by a merger between Nationale-Nederlanden and NMB Postbank Group. During the past 15 years ING has become a multinational with very diverse international activities. ING’s history can be traced to the insurers De Nationale Levensverzekering Bank and De Nederlanden van in 1845. The oldest legal predecessor is the Kooger Doodenbos from Koog, Noord Holland, founded in 1743.
|10. Berkshire Hathaway|
“When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact. ” Warren Buffett. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is based in Omaha, US. Berkshire Hathaway manages a number of subsidiary companies. Its core business is insurance, including property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and specialty nonstandard insurance. The company averaged an annual return in excess of 21 per cent to its shareholders for the last 42 years while employing large amounts of capital and minimal debt. Warren Buffett is the company’s chairman and CEO. Earlier, he used to focus on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including candy production; retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewellery, newspaper publishing and even makes and distributes uniforms and footwear. Berkshire Hathaway reported sales to the tune of $118.25 billion and profits stood at $13.21 in 2007.
Berkshire Hathaway traces its roots to a textile manufacturing company established by Oliver Chace in 1839. In 1929 the Valley Falls Company merged with the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company established in 1889. The combined company was known as Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates. In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway. After some clashes with the Stanton family, he bought up enough shares to change the management and soon controlled the company. Buffett initially maintained Berkshire’s core business of textiles, but by 1967, he forayed into the insurance industry. Berkshire first ventured into the insurance business with the purchase of National Indemnity Company.