27 British companies are in the world's top 500

The UK still punches above its weight when it comes to the world's corporate big beasts.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 28 Jul 2016

When it comes to big business, Britain traditionally punches above its weight, but is UK plc slipping down the rankings? There are now 27 British firms within the world’s biggest 500, down from 30 last year (26 and 29 respectively, if you exclude Anglo-Dutch giant Shell).  

The list, complied annually by Fortune, ranks firms by revenues. Wal-mart comes top (again), with the Chinese State Grid chasing at its heels. The combined revenues of the top 500 came to a staggering $27.6tn (£22.2tn) in 2015, down 11.5% from $31.2tn in 2014, while total profits fell similarly to $1.5tn.

With Earth plc struggling somewhat, British firms perhaps shouldn't feel so bad. The UK is in sixth place in terms of numbers of firms on the list, behind the US (134), China (102), Japan (52), France (29) and Germany (28).

So which were the British firms on the list, and where did they place?

5. Royal Dutch Shell (3 in 2015). Fortune may not count it as British, but we do.

10. BP (6).  Despite their travails, oil firms remain heavy hitters.

68. HSBC (81). British for now…

72. Tesco (62). It may be ailing, but it's still a giant.

126. Prudential (74). The first of several insurers.

133. Vodafone (136).

147. Unilever (153). Like Shell, technically Anglo-Dutch.

181. Barclays (195).

193. Lloyds (145).

216. SSE (205).

220. Centrica (217).

278. GlaxoSmithKline (309).

279. Aviva (123). Told you about the insurers...

288. J Sainsbury (301). Actually rose 13 places.

296. Rio Tinto (222).

361. RBS (303).

369. BT (411). Rose 42 places thanks to the EE merger. 

387. Compass Group (418).

415. BAE Systems (-)

421. IAG (443). 

435. Astrazeneca (455).

437. Wm Morrison (431). The supermarket price war doesnt' seem to have hit the Big Four that badly...

471. National Grid (486).

477. Greenergy Fuel Holdings (474).

498. Standard Chartered (479).

499. Rolls Royce Holdings (498).

500. Old Mutual (466).

Image credit: Colin/Wikimedia Commons

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