Our following research takes a deep dive into the financial landscapes of the Fortune 500 global companies list, unraveling the intricacies of their profitability, disparities between U.S. and international counterparts and a look at the most profitable companies in the world. 

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In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, the top 500 companies amassed a staggering $41 trillion in revenue, yielding a profound $2.9 trillion in profits. The U.S. emerged as a profit behemoth, with its 136 Fortune 500 companies contributing a massive 38% to the global profit pool.

This study meticulously examines sector-wise profitability, country comparisons, and the highs and lows within the Fortune 500, offering a panoramic view of the world’s economic powerhouses.

Key Findings

  • Global Giants: Fortune 500 companies amassed a colossal $41 trillion in revenue, with $2.9 trillion in profit.
  • Top Global Profit Makers: The top 10 companies globally amassed $689.8B (24%) in profit, with Saudi Aramco leading at $159.1B.
  • Global Losses: The bottom 10 companies worldwide incurred a collective loss of nearly $126B.
  • U.S. Dominance: U.S. companies (136) secured a remarkable $1.1T profit, overshadowing China’s $528B, despite similar company numbers.
  • The U.S. and China jointly generate 56% of the global 500 companies’ profit.
  • Sector Powerhouses: Technology, Finance, and Energy sectors claimed 63% of the $2.9 trillion global profit.
  • U.S. Sector Standouts: The Technology sector in the U.S. emerged as the most profitable, generating $306B, constituting 28% of the country’s total profit.
  • Top U.S. Performers: The top 10 U.S. companies contributed 46% of the $1.1 trillion total profit, led by Apple.
  • Sectoral Disparities: Media, Wholesaler, and Retail sectors in the U.S. lagged behind with profit margins of 0.76%, 1.53%, and 2.60%, respectively.

Top 500 Most Profitable Companies: U.S. vs. the World [Infographic]

Top 500 Most Profitable Companies: U.S. vs the World

10 Most Profitable of the Largest Companies in the World, 2023

The elite league of the world’s 10 most profitable companies in 2023 showcases a powerhouse of financial success. These industry giants, representing the Energy, Technology, Transportation, and Financial sectors, collectively amassed a jaw-dropping $689.8 billion in profits, constituting 24% of the total profit from the analyzed Fortune 500 companies. 

The average profit per company within this elite group is an impressive $69 billion.

Notably, half of the top 10 are U.S.-based corporations, underlining the economic dominance of American businesses on the global stage. 

Most Profitable of the Largest Companies in the World, 2023

Each of these companies showcases the diverse financial prowess across sectors in 2023. Saudi Aramco steals the spotlight with an unparalleled profit of $159.1 billion, accounting for a remarkable 5.49% of the global 500 total profit — emphasizing the dominant role the energy sector plays in generating substantial financial gains.  

The U.S. Postal Service surprises as the only representative in the transportation sector, boasting a remarkable profit of $56 billion (71.29%) with a revenue of $78.6 billion, outshining all of its peers with ease. 

In the technology realm, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet secure top positions, collectively contributing $232.5 billion in profit.Microsoft stands out with an impressive profit margin of 36.69%, underscoring the profitability potential in software and technological solutions.

In the financial realm, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank secured their spots by contributing a combined profit of $107.7 billion. 

The energy sector, represented by Exxon Mobil and Shell, contributes significantly too, with both companies together accounting for $98 billion in profit. 

Overall, this top 10 ensemble underscores the global impact of varied industries, from energy giants to technology titans, that shape the financial landscape with substantial profits.

10 Least Profitable of the Largest Companies in the World, 2023

The bottom 10 companies in 2023, however, collectively faced significant financial challenges, accumulating a staggering combined loss of almost $126 billion during the analyzed fiscal year. 

Notably, industry giants Berkshire Hathaway and Uniper, ranked 14th and 16th in Fortune’s official ranking with huge revenues of $302.1 billion and $288.3 billion, respectively, found themselves among the least profitable.

The average loss per company within this group amounted to -$12.6 billion, reflecting the significant financial challenges these companies encountered.

Least Profitable of the Largest Companies in the World, 2023

The energy sector, represented by Uniper, Korea Electric Power, Electricité de France, and CPC, dominates the list, collectively contributing to a substantial $53.2 billion in losses. 

Meanwhile, technology and telecommunications companies, such as Uber Technologies, AT&T, Warner Bros. Discovery, and SoftBank Group, have also had to grapple with substantial losses, emphasizing the many challenges faced across diverse sectors. 

The inclusion of well-known names like AT&T and Uber in the least profitable list helps to highlight the wild unpredictability and volatility inherent in today’s global business landscape.

Most Profitable Sectors for the World’s Largest Companies, 2023

The top 3 sectors — energy, finance, and technology — emerge as the most profitable among the world’s largest companies in 2023, collectively contributing to a massive 63% of the total global profit, amounting to $1.8 trillion. 

Most Profitable Sectors for the World's Largest Companies, 2023

With a profit share of 24.56%, the energy sector takes the lead, bolstering $711.6 billion in profit by 88 companies within the Fortune 500. 

Finance follows closely, with 101 companies and a 23.07% profit share, showcasing it still holds considerable financial dominance. 

Technology, represented by 35 companies, secures a notable 15.54% profit share, underlining its continued significance in the profit landscape.

Healthcare, represented by 30 companies, holds a 7.51% profit share with $217.6 billion in profit and significantly contributes to the profitability of the world’s largest companies. 

Transportation, with 22 companies, secures a notable 5.54% of total profit, amounting to $160.5 billion in profit. The sector’s role in facilitating global movement is evident in its substantial profit share.

Motor Vehicle and Parts, encompassing 34 companies, contribute a noteworthy 5.36% to the global profit, generating $155.4 billion. The automotive industry’s impact is still substantial, albeit with a slightly lower profit margin compared to other leading sectors.

The remaining sectors, including Food, Beverages and Tobacco, Telecommunications, Retail, Materials, Wholesaler, Industrial, Engineering and Construction, Household Products, Aerospace and Defence, Chemicals, Food and Drug Stores, Apparel, and Hotels, Restaurants, Leisure, collectively make valuable contributions to the global profit landscape, showcasing the diverse strengths and importance of each individual sector.

This analysis helps to highlight the diverse strengths and contributions of various sectors across the globe, with energy, finance, and technology leading the charge in shaping the financial landscape of the largest global enterprises.

Ranking Countries by Total Corporate Profit, 2023

In the dynamic landscape of global corporate giants, the United States and China emerge as titans, each housing a near-equal number of companies on the Fortune 500 list with revenues totaling $13 trillion and $11.2 trillion, respectively. 

Despite this similarity, the U.S. outshines all nations, with its 136 companies generating a staggering $1.1 trillion in profit, representing 37.56% of the total global profit. China follows closely, with 135 companies contributing $528 billion, comprising just under half of the U.S.’s global profit pool with 18.22%.

The combined force of the U.S. and China stands out, jointly accounting for $1.6 trillion (56%) of the total profit, surpassing all other countries combined, which contribute $1.3 trillion (44%) in total. 

Saudi Arabia secures the third position with a single company generating $159.1 billion in profit, making it 5.49% of the total global profit. 

Countries Ranked by the Total Profit Generated by Their Biggest Companies, 2023