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REVEALED: The world's richest companies

Jul 15 2017 10:00
Yolandi Groenewald
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Johannesburg - Apple once again claimed the throne as the world’s top company, determined by firms’ total market value.

The software giant, which claimed the spot for the sixth time in a row, increased their capitalisation by 25%. Also their gap with second placed Alphabet, previously Google, has more than doubled to $175bn.

American companies dominated the list with 55 out of 100 coming out of the US. No African or South African companies are featured in the top 100, but three companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange made the cut.

South African-born international brewery, SABMiller fell off the list after Belgian firm Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s top brewer, sealed a R1trn deal to buy SABMiller in October last year.

AB InBev ranked 21 out of a 100 companies with market capitalisation of $222bn. Last year SABMiller ranked 68 with a market cap of $99bn, before being acquired. AB InBev was also the thirteenth highest riser on the index, cementing its successful growth strategy.

British American Tobacco ranked 53rd with a market cap of $124bn, and mining giant BHP Billiton ranked 85th with a market cap of $92bn.

The survey illustrated the decline of BHP Billiton, which ranked 19th in 2009. PWC labelled the mining giant as the company with second largest drop in market capitalisation after Petrochina.

To enter the top 100 club this year companies’ market capitalisation had to be at least $88bn, compared to $76bn in March 2016. South Africa’s largest homegrown company Naspers' market capitalisation is only $72bn. Tencent, of whom Naspers leverages, just fell out of the top 10 at 11. Tencent has a massive $272 market capitalisation.

The top ten companies all originated from the US.

“The gap between the US largest companies and the rest of the world continues to widen,” said Clifford Tompsett, Head of Global IPO Centre, PwC. “US companies are exploiting their global reach, financial strength and ability to innovate - a sharp contrast to those in the UK and Europe, which continue to fall behind in the rankings."

JP Morgan Chase uprooted General Electric (GE) to slide into the top ten list.  The top three companies remain unchanged compared to last year.

The US is also the largest contributor to the Top 100, gaining $1 292bn to reach $10 928. PWC said the strong performance by Amazon and Apple has fuelled the US growth. China came in second, registering an increase of 14% this year to reach $2 025bn.

The list once again illustrated that technology is the sector where the most money is to be made with a market cap of $3 582b. In second place was the financial sector with $3 532bn, which also recorded the highest number of companies. Consumer goods were third.

Top-10 biggest companies

1. Apple: $754bn

2. Alphabet (Google): $579bn

3. Microsoft: $509bn

4. Amazon: $423bn

5. Berkshire Hathaway: $411bn

6. Facebook: $411bn

7. Exxon Mobil: $340bn

8. Johnson & Johnson: $338bn

9. JPMorgan Chase: $314bn

10. Wells Fargo: $279bn

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