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Methodology for Global 500


Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ended on or before March 31, 2016.  All companies on the list must publish financial data and report part or all of their figures to a government agency. Figures are as reported, and comparisons are with the prior year’s figures as originally reported for that year. Fortune does not restate the prior year’s figures for changes in accounting.

How is this list different from the Fortune 500?

The Fortune Global 500 is our annual ranking of the largest 500 corporations worldwide as measured by total revenue, whereas the Fortune 500 is exclusively U.S. corporations.


Revenue figures include consolidated subsidiaries and reported revenues from discontinued operations, but exclude excise taxes. For banks, revenue is the sum of gross interest income and gross noninterest income. For insurance companies, revenue includes premium and annuity income, investment income, realized capital gains or losses, and other income, but excludes deposits.


Profits are shown after taxes, extraordinary credits or charges, cumulative effects of accounting changes, and noncontrolling (minority) interests, but before preferred dividends. Figures in parentheses indicate a loss. Profit declines of more than 100% reflect swings from 2014 profits to 2015 losses. Profits for 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. Revenue and profit figures for non-U.S. companies have been converted to U.S. dollars at the average exchange rate during each company’s fiscal year (ended Dec. 31, 2015, unless otherwise noted).

Balance Sheet

Assets shown are those at the company’s fiscal year-end. Stockholders’ equity is the sum of capital stock, paid-in capital, and retained earnings on the same date. Noncontrolling (minority) interest is not included. Figures for non-U.S. companies have been converted to U.S. dollars at the exchange rate at each company’s fiscal year-end.


The figure shown is either a fiscal year-end or yearly average number, as published by the company. 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.


The medians for profit changes from 2014 do not include companies that lost money in 2014 or lost money in both 2014 and 2015, because no meaningful percentage changes can be calculated in such cases.


This year’s Fortune Global 500 was prepared under the direction of list editor Scott DeCarlo. Financial statements and annual reports were reviewed by reporter Douglas Elam, accounting specialists Rhona Altschuler and Kathleen Lyons and markets editor Kathleen Smyth. Beijing bureau’s Zhang Dan provided figures for Chinese companies. Fortune’s Business Information Database administrator, Larry Shine, supplied technical support. Researcher Viki Goldman assisted in data verification using data provided by Hoover’s, Lexus Securities Mosaic, S&P Global Market Intelligence and Thomson Reuters.

Company profiles were reported and written by Michal Addady, Chauncey Alcorn, Scott Cendrowski, Barb Darrow, Laura Entis, Madeline Farber, Stephen Gandel, Benjamin Geier, Geoffrey Smith, Robert Hackett, Tom Huddleston Jr., John Kell, Kia Kokalitcheva, Beth Kowitt, Michal Lev-Ram, Laura Lorenzetti, Polina Marinova, Christopher Matthews, Sy Mukherjee, Aaron Pressman, Jeremy Quittner, Leena Rao, Jasper Scherer, Lucinda Shen, Audrey Shi, Christopher Tkaczyk, Shawn Tully, Anne VanderMey, Jonathan Vanian, Phil Wahba, Jen Wieczner, and Valentina Zarya.