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Tesla and Pfizer are among the world’s 20 fastest-growing big companies

August 4, 2022, 10:00 AM UTC
A driver in PPE moves a new Tesla passenger car from Shanghai off a ship in the port in Yantai in east China's Shandong province on April 25, 2022
Tang Ke—Feature China/Future Publishing/Getty Images

2021 was a year of record growth and recovery across the Fortune Global 500 list. All told, the top 500 companies in the world by revenue generated $37.8 trillion in revenue and $3.1 trillion in profits, up 19% and 88% from the year prior, respectively. Only 24 companies on the list posted losses for the year, losing a combined $65 billion; that compares to the 69 Global 500 companies that lost a cumulative $275 billion in 2020.

Still, while most companies on the 500 posted healthy revenue gains, a few grew by leaps and bounds, and they climbed far up the ranks as a result. The 20 fastest-growing companies on this year’s list—as measured by how many spots they jumped ahead—advanced by an average of 126 spots and recorded an average 70.8% revenue growth. Together, this cohort of 20 companies raked in a collective $1.2 trillion in revenue and $102 billion in profits.

By our ranking measure, Chinese steel maker Ansteel Group is the fastest-growing company on this year’s Global 500, jumping up 183 spots to No. 217. It became the world’s third-largest steel producer after beginning a merger process with competitor Ben Gang Group in August 2021. The company saw a 92.5% increase in revenue and a 341.2% increase in profits from the previous year.

China accounted for six of our top 20 companies, including representatives from transportation, aerospace and defense, engineering and construction, energy, and the materials sector. These six Chinese companies brought in over $330 billion in revenue in 2021. The U.S. came in second, with five firms among the top 20. Tesla was the fastest-growing big company in the U.S., climbing up 150 spots due to 71% revenue growth. The electric vehicle company helmed by CEO Elon Musk debuted on the Global 500 last year at No. 392. It is now the 19th largest automaker in the world by revenue, placing at No. 242 on this year’s Global 500. It delivered 936,000 cars in 2021, an 87% increase from the prior year.

Drugmaker Pfizer was the second-fastest mover among big U.S. companies, rising 144 spots to No. 137, as sales of its COVID-19 vaccine fueled a near doubling in its revenue year over year, to $81.3 billion in 2021.

Energy companies in the Global 500 led all sectors in profit growth, collectively delivering a 6,368% jump from the year prior while raking in $485 billion in earnings. Six energy companies are among the 20 fastest-growing companies on the Global 500, the largest of any sector in the cohort. Beijing-based China National Coal Group led its sector for revenue growth, increasing 72% from the prior year as Chinese coal production hit an all-time high of 4.07 billion metric tons in 2021.

Chemical companies led all sectors in revenue growth, bringing in $742 billion in 2021, up 71% from the prior year. Dutch chemicals company LyondellBasell Industries saw the second-highest revenue growth in its sector and climbed further in the ranks than any other chemical company. LyondellBasell, the world’s largest producer of polypropylene, a type of plastic, said in its annual earnings report that high demand and a tight market contributed to record profits in 2021. The company generated $5.6 billion in profits, a 295% increase from the year prior.

Here is a look at the 20 fastest-growing companies on the Fortune Global 500.

1. Ansteel Group

Rank: 217
Change in rank: 183 spots
Sector: Materials
Revenue: $59.4 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 92.5% increase
Profits: $1.1 billion
Country: China

2. CMA CGM

Rank: 228
Change in rank: 165 spots
Sector: Transportation
Revenue: $60 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 78% increase
Profits: $17.9 billion
Country: France

3. China National Coal Group

Rank: 297
Change in rank: 154 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $46.7 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 72.2% increase
Profits: $691 million
Country: China

4. Tesla

Rank: 242
Change in rank: 150 spots
Sector: Motor vehicles & parts
Revenue: $53.8 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 70.7% increase
Profits: $5.5 billion
Country: U.S.

5. Pfizer

Rank: 137
Change in rank: 144 spots
Sector: Health care
Revenue: $81.3 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 94% increase
Profits: $21.9 billion
Country: U.S.

6. LyondellBasell Industries

Rank: 305
Change in rank: 133 spots
Sector: Chemicals
Revenue: $46.2 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 66.4% increase
Profits: $5.6 billion
Country: Netherlands

7. Equinor

Rank: 114
Change in rank: 132 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $90.9 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 98.4% increase
Profits: $8.6 billion
Country: Norway

8. Zhejiang Communications Investment Group

Rank: 302
Change in rank: 131 spots
Sector: Transportation
Revenue: $46.4 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 64.7% increase
Profits: $897 million
Country: China

9. Fortum

Rank: 56
Change in rank: 130 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $132.9 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 137.9% increase
Profits: $874 million
Country: Finland

10. Repsol

Rank: 251
Change in rank: 130 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $52.3 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 64.5% increase
Profits: $3 billion
Country: Spain

11. China Electronics Technology Group

Rank: 233
Change in rank: 121 spots
Sector: Aerospace & defense
Revenue: $55.5 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 61.6% increase
Profits: $2.2 billion
Country: China

12. Energy Transfer

Rank: 184
Change in rank: 121 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $67.4 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 73.1% increase
Profits: $5.5 billion
Country: U.S.

13. Koç Holding

Rank: 357
Change in rank: 110 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $39 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 49% increase
Profits: $1.7 billion
Country: Turkey

14. ENI

Rank: 111
Change in rank: 105 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $92 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 79.5% increase
Profits: $6.9 billion
Country: Italy

15. Enterprise Products Partners

Rank: 343
Change in rank: 105 spots
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $40.8 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 50% increase
Profits: $4.6 billion
Country: U.S.

16. COSCO Shipping

Rank: 127
Change in rank: 104
Sector: Transportation
Revenue: $84.1 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 75.3% increase
Profits: $6.4 billion
Country: China

17. TJX

Rank: 280
Change in rank: 103
Sector: Retailing
Revenue: $48.6 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 51.1% increase
Profits: $3.3 billion
Country: U.S.

18. Guangzhou Municipal Construction Group

Rank: 360
Change in rank: 100
Sector: Engineering & construction
Revenue: $38.6 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 44.8% increase
Profits: $145 million
Country: China

19. Bharat Petroleum

Rank: 295
Change in rank: 99
Sector: Energy
Revenue: $46.9 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 49.7% increase
Profits: $1.6 billion
Country: India

20. LG Chem

Rank: 369
Change in rank: 92
Sector: Chemicals
Revenue: $37.8 billion
Year-over-year change in revenue: 42% increase
Profits: $3.2 billion
Country: South Korea

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