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#1 - Wal-Mart Stores ($421,849 million in revenue)
Retail giant Wal-Mart tops the list of the biggest companies in the world for the second year running. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton as a single department store in Arkansas, the company now has over 8,500 stores across 15 countries. They achieved profits of over $16 billion in 2011 - helping to keep a number of the Walton family in the Forbes rich list.
#2 - Royal Dutch Shell ($378,152 million)
More commonly known as Shell, Royal Dutch Shell are the first of six oil companies to appear in our list. Founded in the Netherlands and now registered in the United Kindom, the oil and gas company managed to turn a profit of $20 billion in 2011. The last couple of years has seen Shell expanding on its alternative energy assets, making investments in biofuels, hydrogen, solar and wind power initiatives around the world.
#3 - Exxon Mobil ($354,674 million)
Coming in third on the list of the largest companies in the world is American oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil. Founded just 12 years ago in 1999 through the merger of gas station company Exxon and oil company Mobil, the oil giant has 37 oil refineries across 21 countries making it the largest oil refiner in the world (a daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels). ExxonMobil managed the highest profits of any company in our top ten, with over $30 billion.
#4 - BP ($308,928 million)
Despite ranking fourth on our list, British oil and gas company BP actually saw losses of over $3 billion in 2011. This is almost entirely due to the well publicised oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with BP's costs for cleanup and claims estimated to run up to $30 billion.
#5 - Sinopec Group (273,422 million)
The largest oil refiner and producer in one of the fastest growing economies has had another good year. Also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, the company is the first mover in our top ten, up from its #7 placing last year. 2011 has seen the Sinopec Group attempt to expand outside of China, with a significant share purchase in the Brazilian unit of Galp Energia and an unsuccessful bid to acquire Canadian oil and gas firm Daylight Energy.
#6 - China National Petroleum Corporation ($240,192 million)
Another rapidly expanding company in the growing Chinese economy, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is a government-owned fuel producing corporation founded in 1988. The biggest upwards mover in our top ten (it was ranked tenth in 2010), CNPC can claim much of its success from partnerships with the governments and multinational companies in multiple oil-rich countries such as Venezuela, Iraq and Qatar.
#7 - State Grid ($226,294 million)
The third company from the growing Chinese economy to appear on our list, State Grid Corporation of China is the largest electric power company in the world with over 1.5 million employees and profits of over $4.5 billion in 2011. The past year has also seen the company invest heavily in the research of consumer energy use data, reportedly purchasing over two thirds of all smart meter units in the world sold in the first quarter of the year.
#8 - Toyota Motor ($221,760 million)
Multinational automobile manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation has managed to overcome successive years of well publicised product recalls to remain in the top ten biggest companies in the world. This despite the tragic earthquake and Tsunami in Japan that greatly damaged their production capabilities, and the general decline in sales in the North American, European and Japanese markets. Toyota's main successes in 2011 have come from the emerging markets including South America and Africa.
#9 - Japan Post Holdings ($203,958 million)
Japan Post Holdings is a state owned enterprise with interests in mail delivery, postal offices, banking services and life insurance. Originally separated into these four divisions in 2005 with the intention of privatising by 2017, the Japanese government has now decided to keep them together for the foreseeable future. The company has reportedly been struggling with the slow Japanese economy, but still managed to record a profit of almost $5 billion.
#10 - Chevron ($196,337 million)
American energy corporation Chevron moves up one place from last year to finish up our top ten list. 2011 saw the company sell many of its assets in order to concentrate on the production end of the energy market, freeing up much cash and seeing them post a profit of almost $20 billion. They also predict a bright 2012, with gas and oil access expected around the nort east US and the Gulf respectively.