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The 20 biggest companies in Europe, where revenues and profits are surging

August 9, 2022, 10:00 AM UTC
Shell gas station worker in Kraków, Poland, in May.
Vito Corleone—SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Recovery sounds good no matter what language you speak. And on this year’s Global 500, companies based in Europe posted a strong year when it came to revenues and profits.

Energy companies raked in cash as oil prices surged owing to the resumption of business and travel, and some went on to benefit from shortages stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Automakers ramped up their electric vehicle production as they set their sights on overtaking the reigning EV producer, American firm Tesla. After a tough run during the pandemic, insurance companies Allianz and AXA also logged impressive financial performances.

Two of the five most profitable European businesses on this year’s list are energy-focused. Oil giant Shell saw the greatest revenue among European energy companies in 2021: $272.7 billion, up almost 50% from the year prior. The company also implemented structural changes, including moving its headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain and reorganizing its tax apparatus. Other top energy producers that saw substantial revenue growth included France-based TotalEnergies, Swiss mining firm Glencore, and British oil behemoth BP

In February 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine aggravated an already drastic energy shortage—and oil firms saw their profits skyrocket even further. Yet some firms also booked huge losses when exiting the Russian market in protest of the war. Russian oil titans Lukoil and Gazprom suffered from the impact of global sanctions after the invasion. This year’s Global 500 list does not reflect that impact, because it is based primarily on financial results from 2021.

One still open question: how the world’s energy firms will successfully transition away from fossil fuels to meet the climate goals that many have set to stay in line with the Paris climate accord. 

The biggest European companies on the Global 500

European carmakers ranked close to the top of this year’s Global 500 list, with Volkswagen accruing the most revenue among European firms—$296 billion. Auto producers represented two of the top 10 most profitable companies in Europe.

The industry delivered profits despite a global semiconductor shortage caused by pandemic supply-chain slowdowns. Mercedes-Benz, Europe’s seventh-biggest company by revenue, moved to focus on more profitable models such as its G-class off-roader and S-class sedan, even as overall sales growth slowed. 

Here are the top 20 European firms by revenue on the Global 500: 

1. Volkswagen

Rank: 8
Revenue: $295.8 billion
Change in revenue since prior year: 16.5%
Profit: $18.2 billion 
Industry: Motor Vehicles & Parts
Country/Territory: Germany

2. Shell

Rank: 15
Revenue: $272.7 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 48.8%
Profit: $20.1 billion
Industry: Petroleum Refining
Country/Territory: Britain

3. Glencore

Rank: 23
Revenue: $203.8 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 43.1%
Profit: $5 billion
Industry: Mining, Crude-Oil Production
Country/Territory: Switzerland

4. TotalEnergies

Rank: 27
Revenue: $184.6 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 54.2%
Profit: $16 billion
Industry: Petroleum Refining
Country/Territory: France

5. Stellantis

Rank: 29
Revenue: $176.7 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 225%
Profit: $16.8 billion
Industry: Motor Vehicles & Parts
Country/Territory: Netherlands

6. BP

Rank: 35
Revenue: $164.2 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: –10.5%
Profit: $7 billion
Industry: Petroleum Refining
Country/Territory: Britain

7. Mercedes-Benz Group

Rank: 38
Revenue: $158.3 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: –10%
Profit: $27.2 billion
Industry: Motor Vehicles & Parts
Country/Territory: Germany

8. Allianz

Rank: 47
Revenue: $144.5 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 6.1%
Profit: $7.8 billion
Industry: Insurance: Life, Health
Country/Territory: Germany

9. AXA

Rank: 48
Revenue: $144.4 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 12.8%
Profit: $8.6 billion
Industry: Insurance: Life, Health
Country/Territory: France

10. Gazprom

Rank: 52
Revenue: $137.7 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 56.7%
Profit: $28.4 billion
Industry: Energy
Country/Territory: Russia

11. Fortum 

Rank: 56
Revenue: $132.9 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 137.9%
Profit: $873.7 million
Industry: Energy
Country/Territory: Finland

12. BMW

Rank: 59
Revenue: $131.5 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 16.6%
Profit: $14.6 billion
Industry: Motor Vehicles & Parts
Country/Territory: Germany

13. Deutsche Telekom 

Rank: 62
Revenue: $128.6 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 11.8%
Profit: $4.9 billion
Industry: Telecommunications
Country/Territory: Germany

14. Lukoil

Rank: 67
Revenue: $125.1 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 74.1%
Profit: $10.5 billion
Industry: Petroleum Refining
Country/Territory: Russia

15. Assicurazioni Generali

Rank: 72
Revenue: $117.2 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 20.6%
Profit: $3.4 billion
Industry: Insurance: Life, Health
Country/Territory: Italy

16. Crédit Agricole

Rank: 84
Revenue: $107.7 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 29.8%
Profit: $6.9 billion
Industry: Banks: Commercial and Savings
Country/Territory: France

17. Enel

Rank: 90
Revenue: $104.1 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 40.5%
Profit: $3.8 billion
Industry: Utilities
Country/Territory: Italy

18. Electricité de France

Rank: 95
Revenue: $99.9 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 26.6%
Profit: $6 billion
Industry: Utilities
Country/Territory: France

19. Deutsche Post DHL Group

Rank: 99
Revenue: $96.7 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 27%
Profit: $6 billion
Industry: Mail, Package, and Freight Delivery
Country/Territory: Germany

20. Nestlé

Rank: 103
Revenue: $95.3 billion
Change in revenue since year prior: 6.1%
Profit: $18.5 billion
Industry: Food Consumer Products
Country/Territory: Switzerland

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