The World’s Ten Most Influential Companies

The December 22nd edition of BusinessWeek published an article titled “The World’s Most Influential Companies”. As per BusinessWeek, “they are the innovators and front-runners that are shaping business today”.

The following is a brief overview of the the top ten companies from the list. These 10 companies “have devised winning strategies in their industries. They are the ones with the game-changing ideas, the greatest impact on consumers, and the bold tactics rivals emulate. None is infallible or without controversy”. Five of the 10 companies are US-based.

1. Apple (AAPL) is a Cupertino, California-based maker of many technology products like cool laptops, iPhones, iPods, etc.that are “imaginative, irreverent, and pleasing to the eye”. Apple’s annual sales is $24.0 B. AAPL does not pay a dividend. After reaching a high of $200 in January, the stock closed for $85.04 today. Annual revenue growth in the past 5 years is 39.23%. However sales may not continue at this pace due to the economy being in recession and many folks who own iPods, iPhones do not find the need to replace

2.Google (GOOG) is the world’s top search engine. It processes “3,000 queries per second in the U.S. alone”. GOOG has a P/E of 19.07 and does not pay a dividend. Late last year the stock reached a peak of $716. Today it closed at $302.95.

3.Huawei is a Shenzen,China-based maker of “networking equipment, cellular handsets, and other telecommunications gear. Huawei’s stock is not listed in the US markets. The company competes against other network equipment makers like Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco,etc. Annual sales is $12.6 billion.

4.JPMorgan Chase and Co (JPM) is one of the so called three giant “superbanks” that dominate the financial industry in the USA. JPM currently pays a dividend of 5.22%. In September,Chase bought the failed West Coast bank Washington Mutual (WaMu).

5. St. Louis-based Monsanto(MON) is “a global provider of agricultural products for farmers”. BusinessWeek says “About 97% of U.S. soy is now grown using Monsanto technology, and the company’s insect- and herbicide-resistant corn and cotton have become the default standard for U.S. farmers”. The current yield is 1.45%.

6.News Corp(NWS) is is one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. In the US, News Corp. owns many newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and the Fox TV news channel. NWS pays a dividend of 1.36%.

7.The oil company Saudi Aramco is based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Annual sales is $210 B. As the world’s largest oil producer it “ships around 8 million barrels to industrial powers” everyday. Saudi Aramco does not trade in the USA.

8. Toyota Motor Corp (TM) is one of the world’s largest auto makers. TM’s current yield is 4.8%. While revenue increased annually about 11% in the past 5 years, this week Toyota announced that auto sales plunged 21.8% in November, the biggest in 8 years and projected that it will report its first operating loss in 70 years due to the current slowdown in the global economy.

9.Unilever PLC (UL) is one of the parent companies of the Unilever Group (Unilever) with headquarters in London, UK. Unilever owns brands such as Dove, Lipton, Vaseline, etc. and they are popular in many emerging countries like India,Brazil. Unilever was successful in marketing its products to the poor consumers by making the packages very small and set the price accordingly. The P/E is 9.48 and the yield is 2.91%.

10. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) is the world’s largest retailer. The company operates the Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Club in the USA. Sam’s club’s sales accounted for 11.8% of total net sales in 2008. About 100 million Americans visit its stores each week. WMT pays a dividend of 1.72%.

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