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Chinese bank tops Forbes list

18 April 2013, 09:12 AFP

Washington - Chinese bank ICBC knocked US oil giant ExxonMobil from its perch as the world's biggest public company on Wednesday, ranking number-one for the first time on the Forbes Global 2000 list.

Underscoring the power move by Chinese companies to top global rankings, China Construction Bank leaped 11 spots from last year to the number-two spot on the Forbes list of the world's largest public companies.

"This year's list again reveals the dynamism of global business," said Scott DeCarlo, the list editor.

Forbes said that ICBC - The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - and CCB were bumped higher in the ranks by double-digit growth in both sales and profits in 2012, although annual profit growth for both banks was the slowest rate since they went public.

ICBC brought in $37.8bn in profits on $2.8 trillion in assets last yeat, while CCB earned $30.6bn on $2.2 trillion in assets.

"Most analysts don't expect a banking crisis in China, but rising defaults and shrinking loan profitability are serious threats to the country's banking system," Forbes said.

The rankings of the Forbes top 2 000 are determined by an equal weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value.

Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase, the world's biggest company in 2011, slipped from number two in 2012 to number three in 2013 as sales dipped.

US conglomerate General Electric moved down a notch to the fourth spot.

ExxonMobil, the US oil and gas giant, tumbled from its one-year reign at the top last year to the number-five spot, despite being the world's most profitable company for the second year in a row with $44.9bn in net income, Forbes said.

Apple, which has vied over the past year with Exxon for the title of the world's most valuable company by market capitalization, was tied at number 15 with Walmart Stores.

Walmart reclaimed the top perch as the word's sales leader with 5.0% growth from Dutch-Anglo energy firm Royal Dutch Shell.

Germany's Allianz, South Korea's Samsung Electronics, and US-based AT&T joined the 25 top-ranked companies. Allianz gained the most ground, rising to 25th from 50th in last year's list.

By country, the United States, adding 19 members, continued to dominate the list with 543 members, its highest total since 2009.

Japan lost seven members, but at 251 remained the second-biggest country on the list.

For the first time since the list began in 2004, Forbes said, China did not increase the number of its companies on the list.

But it still had the third-largest presence with 136 members.

Forbes highlighted three Asian countries that showed standout overall growth in the list: Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Belgium, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates had the biggest rise in company market values, growing by double digits from a year ago.

Eleven countries had only one firm on the list, including New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Vietnam.


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