Ongoing tension in the European Union and a fraught global trade crisis haven’t stopped Europe’s largest public companies from getting even bigger.
The top 10 European companies on the 2018 Forbes Global 2000 list collectively raked in revenue of more than $1.7 trillion in their latest fiscal years. France, Germany and Switzerland were the European countries with the most entries on the list, collectively contributing 153 firms to the Global 2000 — our annual ranking of the world’s largest public companies, ranked according to sales, profits, assets and market value.
Leading the pack of European giants is last year’s front-runner, Royal Dutch Shell, which despite taking a $2 billion hit after President Trump’s new U.S. tax law, still managed to double, once again, its annual profit in 2017 — helping the firm jump 9 spots in the global rankings to land at #11 overall.
With an almost $16 billion bottom line in 2017, Shell’s stock is up nearly 29% over the past year, lending to a current market capitalization of just over $300 billion. Meanwhile, iShares’ Core MSCI Europe ETF, an index tracker composed of small- to large-cap European equities has crawled up less than 4% over the past year.
Joining the Netherlands-based oil and gas mammoth in the top ranks is fellow energy firm BP, which lands at #10 on this year’s Europe list after leaping more than 300 spots in the global rankings. Over the past year, London-based BP, #359 overall, added more than 27% to its now more-than $150 billion market cap.
German automaker Volkswagen is the second-largest European firm on the Global 2000. It climbs 12 spots this year to #16 in the global rankings as the firm nears the three-year anniversary of its 2015 emissions scandal. And while the firm’s market cap still hasn’t returned to its pre-scandal glory days, Volkswagen nearly doubled its operating profit in 2017 to more than $13 billion, and it’s added more than 26% to its market cap over the past year.
Higher interest rates may not be a boon to most, but they’ve lent a helping hand to the European banking sector over the past year despite trouble on the euro front. The financial industry dominates this year’s list of Europe’s largest companies, with banking giants HSBC Holdings and BNP Paribas leading at #3 and #4, respectively.
This year, the Global 2000 features more than 500 European firms that claim nearly $60 trillion in assets and saw almost $11 trillion in revenue last year alone.
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