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Royal Dutch Shell tops Fortune’s Global 500 rankings

By Joseph O’Leary

NEW YORK, July 9 | Mon Jul 9, 2012 12:52pm EDT

(Reuters) – Energy company Royal Dutch Shell, with a 28.1 percent increase in revenue in 2011, ended Wal-Mart Stores’ two-year reign atop Fortune Magazine’s Global 500 list, the magazine’s yearly ranking of the world’s 500 largest corporations, which was released on Monday.

The Netherlands-based company took first place with more than $484 billion in revenues and $30.9 billion in profits, a 53.6 percent increase from 2010. It continued to perform well into early 2012, boosting its earnings for the first quarter of 2012 by 11 percent, the magazine said.

Exxon Mobil Corp came in second place in the rankings. The U.S.-based energy giant saw a 35 percent boost in profits to $41 billion in 2011, also jumping the world’s biggest retailer, which landed in third place.

Wal-Mart earned large profits overseas but struggled in its native United States, with a 4.2 percent decline in profits amid lowered sales and high-profile controversies, including allegations of bribery in Mexico.

Rounding out the rankings’ top five were Britain’s BP and China’s Sinopec Group.

“Despite financial turmoil in Europe and disasters in Japan, the world’s largest corporations had record profits and revenues in 2011,” Fortune spokeswoman Kerri Chyka said in an email.

The 500 companies on the list saw total revenue of $29.5 trillion, up 13.2 percent over 2010. Total profits rose to $1.6 trillion.

Eight of the list’s top 10 companies were in the energy business. Commercial banks and the auto industry took second and third place in the 500 rankings, respectively.

Chyka added that 132 U.S. companies made 2012’s Global 500 list, though that’s down from nearly 200 a decade ago.

“Although the U.S. still hosts the lion’s share of Global 500 corporations, no country has lost more companies during the last decade,” Chyka said.

China, which came in second with 73 companies, has seen an increase of 62 businesses on the list since 2002, and Japan was third with 68. Europe had 161 companies on the list.

The top 10 companies included four from the United States, with Chevron and ConocoPhillips in eighth and ninth place respectively, and three from China, with China National Petroleum and State Grid in sixth place and seventh place.


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