espite challenges brought on by the pandemic, ongoing war and unpredictable markets, the world’s largest public companies managed to boost sales and profits in the last year. Healthy income statements, however, mask a new economic reality which is devoid of government stimulus and features much lower stock values as inflation and a bearish market turn have put a damper on economic recovery.
Forbes Global 2000 ranks the largest companies in the world using four metrics: sales, profits, assets, and market value. Market turbulence has pushed down the minimum market value to be considered for the 2022 list to $7.6 billion compared to $8.26 billion in 2021, but the minimum for all other metrics is up over last year.
Berkshire Hathaway took the No. 1 spot for the first time since Forbes started publishing the Global 2000 in 2003, dethroning the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which dropped to No. 2 after nine consecutive years at the top of the list. Big oil rebounded rapidly from last year’s low ranks, boosted by rising oil prices. ExxonMobil is No. 15 this year, up from No. 317 in 2021 and Shell is No. 16, up from No. 324. Both companies saw profits swing back into positive territory after last year’s losses.
As a group, the companies on the 2022 Global 2000 account for $47.6 trillion in revenues, $5.0 trillion in profits, $233.7 trillion in assets and $76.5 trillion in market cap. There are 58 countries represented on the 2022 list. The United States has the most with 590 companies, followed by China/Hong Kong (351) and Japan (196).
We used the latest-12-months’ financial data available to us as of April 22, 2022 to calculate the metrics used for our ranking.