Twenty-First Century Fox
Sears Holdings

This year's Fortune 500 marks the 61st running of the list. Wal-Mart claims the top spot again.

See our methodology and credits



Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years. Included in the survey are companies that are incorporated in the U.S. and operate in the U.S. and file financial statements with a government agency. This includes private companies and cooperatives that file a 10-K or a comparable financial statement with a government agency, and mutual insurance companies that file with state regulators. It also includes companies that file with a government agency but are owned by private companies, domestic or foreign, that do not file such financial statements. Excluded are private companies not filing with a government agency; companies incorporated outside the U.S.; and U.S. companies consolidated by other companies, domestic or foreign, that file with a government agency. Also excluded are companies that failed to report full financial statements for at least three quarters of the current fiscal year. Percent change calculations for revenue, net income, and earnings per share are based on data as originally reported. They are not restated for mergers, acquisitions, or accounting changes. The only changes to the prior years' data are for significant restatement due to reporting errors that require a company to file an amended 10-K.


Revenues are as reported, including revenues from discontinued operations when published. If a spinoff is on the list, it has not been included in discontinued operations. Revenues for commercial banks and savings institutions are interest and noninterest revenues. Revenues for insurance companies include premium and annuity income, investment income, and capital gains or losses, but exclude deposits. Revenues figures for all companies include consolidated subsidiaries and exclude excise taxes. Data shown are for the fiscal year ended on or before Jan. 31, 2015. Unless otherwise noted, all figures are for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014.


Profits are shown after taxes, extraordinary credits or charges, cumulative effects of accounting changes, and noncontrolling interests (including subsidiary preferred dividends), but before preferred dividends of the company. Figures in parentheses indicate a loss. Profit declines of more than 100% reflect swings from 2013 profits to 2014 losses. Profits for real estate investment trusts, partnerships, and cooperatives are reported but are not comparable with those of the other companies on the list because they are not taxed on a comparable basis. Profits for mutual insurance companies are based on statutory accounting.

Balance Sheet

Assets are the company’s year-end total. Total stockholders’ equity is the sum of all capital stock, paid-in capital, and retained earnings at the company’s year-end. Excluded is equity attributable to noncontrolling interests. Also excluded is redeemable preferred stock whose redemption is either mandatory or outside the company’s control. Dividends paid on such stock have been subtracted from the profit figures used in calculating return on equity.


The figure shown is a fiscal year-end number as published by the company in its annual report. Where the breakdown between full- and part-time employees is supplied, a part-time employee is counted as one-half of a full-time employee.

Earnings Per Share

The figure shown for each company is the diluted earnings-per-share figure that appears on the income statement. Per-share earnings are adjusted for stock splits and stock dividends. Though earnings-per-share numbers are not marked by footnotes, if a company’s profits are footnoted it can be assumed that earnings per share is affected as well. The five-year and 10-year earnings-growth rates are the annual rates, compounded.

Total Return to Investors

Total return to investors includes both price appreciation and dividend yield to an investor in the company’s stock. The figures shown assume sales at the end of 2014 of stock owned at the end of 2004, 2009, and 2013. It has been assumed that any proceeds from cash dividends and stock received in spinoffs were reinvested when they were paid. Returns are adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, recapitalizations, and corporate reorganizations as they occurred; however, no effort has been made to reflect the cost of brokerage commissions or of taxes.

Total-return percentages shown are the returns received by the hypothetical investor described above. The five-year and 10-year returns are the annual rates, compounded.


No attempt has been made to calculate median figures in the tables for groups of fewer than four companies. The medians for profit changes from 2013 to 2014 do not include companies that lost money in 2013 or lost money in both 2013 and 2014, because no meaningful percentage changes can be calculated in such cases.


This Fortune 500 Directory was prepared under the direction of list editor Scott DeCarlo. Income statement and balance sheet data provided by the companies were reviewed and verified against published earnings releases, 10-K filings, and annual reports by reporter Douglas G. Elam and accounting specialists Richard K. Tucksmith and Rhona Altschuler. Markets editor Kathleen Smyth used those same sources to check the data for earnings per share. In addition, she used data provided by Thomson Reuters and S&P Capital IQ to calculate total return and market capitalization. Database administrator Larry Shine provided technical support. Edith Fried reviewed and edited nonstatistical information. Researchers Viki Goldman and Kathleen Lyons assisted with the data gathering and verification. The data verification process was aided substantially by information provided by S&P Capital IQ. Other sources used were: FactSet Research Systems, Hoover’s and Morningstar Document Research.


This year's Fortune 500 marks the 61st running of the list. In total, the Fortune 500 companies account for $12.5 trillion in revenues, $945 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market value and employ 26.8 million people worldwide.

See our methodology and credits


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Last year's Rank: 101
3M Co. Post-it brand notes hang on display for sale at a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois.
Photograph by Daniel Acker — Getty Images
The industrial-products maker, which makes Post-Its and Scotch Tape, last year reported higher sales for all business segments it serves and across almost all geographies, with Latin America/Canada the lone laggard. Though a lot of 3M's brands are well known, the company also invests heavily in research and development, which it believes is a major driver of sales and profit growth. R&D expenses totaled $1.77 billion last year.
  • Diversity is a great advantage for 3M, which sells simple Scotch masking tape and Post-Its for the office, but also provides reflective sheets used on highway signs, sells medical tapes and wound closure products and makes wood-finishing materials and filters for furnaces and air conditioners.
  • 3M's businesses can be adversely affected by disruptions in global markets and widespread recessionary conditions.
  • The company derives about two-thirds of its revenue from outside of the U.S.
  • Other deals include the recently acquired Ivera Medical and the sale of the company's static control business in January.
  • 3M has been busy this year with acquisitions and divestitures. It agreed to pay $1 billion to buy Polypore's filtrations business for the life sciences, industrial and specialty segments.
  • Because most of 3M's revenue comes from outside the U.S., when the dollar is strong, it can sting the company's sales and bottom line results.
  • Rival products can come into the market and attempt to undercut 3M's pricing power, which could result in it slashing prices to stay competitive.
3M also appeared on these lists:

Key Financials (last fiscal year)

$ millions % change
Revenues ($M) 31821 3%
Profits ($M) 4956 6%
Total Stockholder Equity 13109
Employees 89800
Market Value (as of March 31, 2015) 104796

Profit Ratios

Profit as % of Revenues 15%
Profits as % of Assets 15%
Profits as % of Stockholder Equity 37%

Earnings Per Share

Earnings Per Share ($) 7
EPS % Change (from 2013) 11%
EPS % Change (5 year annual rate) 10%
EPS % Change (10 year annual rate) 7%

Total Return

Total Return to Investors (2014) 20%
Total Return to Investors (5 year, annualized) 17%
Total Return to Investors (10 year, annualized) 9%

Company Info

CEO Inge G. Thulin
Industry zMiscellaneous
Sector Household Products
HQ Location St. Paul, MN
Years on List 21
Fortune's Take On 3M
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