The numbers are in! Find out which corporations are dominating in America! Get the list of the top 5 here!
CNN Money reveals…
1. Exxon Mobil
CEO: Rex W. Tillerson
It’s tough to beat the kind of year Exxon Mobil had in 2011. Shares rose by 20% and profits surged by 35% to $41.1 billion. Revenues jumped 28% to $452.9 billion, helping Exxon reclaim the top spot in the Fortune 500.
Exxon has certainly benefited from rising oil prices, particularly during the last quarter of 2011. But the company has also positioned itself well to capitalize on the latest controversial trend in domestic energy production: Fracking. Exxon now produces just about as much gas as it does oil, thanks to its $35 billion purchase of XTO Energy in 2010. As CEO Rex Tillerson told Fortune recently, with world demand for energy expected to rise considerably during the coming decades, the shale gas party has just begun.
2. Wal-Mart Stores
CEO: Michael T. Duke
Wal-Mart slipped to No. 2 in the Fortune 500 in 2011 after holding onto the top spot for two years in a row. The retailer was forced to aggressively cut prices to reverse its declining same store sales in the U.S. That helped push revenues up by 6% during 2011, to $447 billion, but it hurt Wal-Mart’s bottom line — profits declined by 4.6% during the year, to $15.7 billion.
The world’s largest retailer has struggled to maintain growth at its U.S. stores, even as the economy has shown signs of recovery. Although the unemployment rate has fallen, the housing market remains unstable and consumer spending hasn’t reflected a new attitude for many Americans.
Wal-Mart’s international business continues to be a source of growth for the company — revenues outside the U.S. rose by 13.1% last year, to $35.5 billion. But one key growth market for Wal-Mart, Mexico, recently hit a major roadblock after a sweeping New York Times story reported bribery allegations by the retailer there.
CEO: John S. Watson
Chevron ended 2011 on a sour note: Despite rising oil prices, the company posted its biggest profit decline in two years, largely due to losses at its U.S. refinery business. Still, the second-largest oil and gas company in the U.S. managed to post a 25% increase in revenues during the full year, to $245.6 billion, and an impressive 41% jump in profits, to $26.9 billion. Chevron is spending heavily on oil and gas projects in places like Australia, Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico — projects that are expected to start paying off in 2014.
Chevron also continues to keep its lawyers gainfully employed. In addition to multiple ongoing legal battles, including a longstanding one in Ecuador, Chevron is now fighting an $11 billion suit brought against it for an oil spill late last year in Brazil. It’s also still cleaning up after a natural gas rig in Nigeria exploded earlier this year.
CEO: Ryan M. Lance
Was this company a 2011 top stock?
Big Oil may be getting a little smaller. ConocoPhillips surprised many on Wall Street last year when it announced plans to break up into two publicly traded companies, one focused on exploration and production and another on refineries and marketing, called Phillips 66. The spin-off happened on April 30. Conoco officials hope the break-up will help it compete better internationally and unlock value by attracting more investors.
This Fortune 500 list was based on 2011 results, so the new changes for ConocoPhillips shareholders aren’t reflected here. If they were, we’d see Phillips 66 in the No. 4 spot instead of the parent company, ConocoPhillips. The spin-off represents about 80% of the original company’s total 2011 revenue — that still puts it ahead of the next company on this list, General Motors.
5. General Motors
CEO: Daniel F. Akerson
Detroit has staged a comeback, and so has General Motors. The auto giant jumped three spots in the Fortune 500, from No. 8 in 2010 to No. 5 last year. Just two years after it filed for bankruptcy and received federal aid, GM posted record profits in 2011. It earned $9.2 billion, up a whopping 49% from 2010, while revenues rose 11% to $150.3 billion. GM also reclaimed its title as global sales leader after Toyota nabbed it from GM in 2008.
No one should be more pleased by those numbers than GM union workers, who negotiated a profit-sharing program as part of the company’s reorganization. About 47,500 workers received checks averaging $7,000, up from $4,300 in 2010.
Get the entire list at CNN Money!