Corporate Power Facts and Stats

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  • by Anup Shah
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  1. Concentration of transnational companies
  2. Comparing companies to countries

Concentration of transnational companies

In September 2011, an analysis of over 43,000 transnational corporations (TNCs) has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy 1. Of those companies,

  • There was a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownership
  • The 1318 companies represents around 60 per cent of global revenues by collectively owning through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms — the “real” economy
  • An even tighter 147 (about 1%) of these were described as super entities that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network.

The top 50 companies are as follows:

Top 50 control-holders. Shareholders ranked by control of network of multinational companies
RankEconomic actor nameCountry
The network of global corporate control2, Swiss Federal Technology Institute, September 19, 2011, table S1, p.33
1Barclays plcGB
2Capital Group Companies IncUS
3FMR CorporationUS
5State Street CorporationUS
6JP Morgan Chase & Co US
7Legal & General Group plc GB
8Vanguard Group IncUS
10Merrill Lynch & Co Inc US
11Wellington Management Co LLPUS
12Deutsche Bank AGDE
13Franklin Resources IncUS
14Credit Suisse GroupCH
15Walton Enterprises LLCUS
16Bank of New York Mellon CorpUS
18Goldman Sachs Group IncUS
19T Rowe Price Group IncUS
20Legg Mason IncUS
21Morgan StanleyUS
22Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group IncJP
23Northern Trust CorporationUS
24Société GénéraleFR
25Bank of America CorporationUS
26Lloyds TSB Group plc GB
27Invesco plcGB
28Allianz SEDE
30Old Mutual Public Limited CompanyGB
31Aviva plc GB
32Schroders plcGB
33Dodge & CoxUS
34Lehman Brothers Holdings IncUS
35Sun Life Financial IncCA
36Standard Life plcGB
38Nomura Holdings IncJP
39The Depository Trust Company US
40Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance US
41ING Groep NV NL
42Brandes Investment Partners LP US
43Unicredito Italiano SPA IT
44Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan JP
45Vereniging Aegon NL
46BNP Paribas FR
47Affiliated Managers Group Inc US
48Resona Holdings Inc JP
49Capital Group International Inc US
50China Petrochemical Group CompanyCN

Interestingly, almost half are American. Only one is Chinese. The rest are mostly a small number of European, Canadian or Japanese. As the data was before the global financial crisis3 took hold, it is possible this may have changed a bit.

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Comparing companies to countries

The following stats were added here on May 15, 2001, and have not been updated since as I have not found comparable updated stats. It is left here for some context and shows how some concerns being raised lately by protest movements and others around the world have been around for a long time. (If you know of more up-to-date ones, please let me know4!)

The following are collected from a report by the Institute for Policy Studies. The report is called Top 200: The Rise of Corporate Global Power5. Over time, additonal facts and stats will be added from other sources as well.

  1. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).
  2. The Top 200 corporations' sales are growing at a faster rate than overall global economic activity. Between 1983 and 1999, their combined sales grew from the equivalent of 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent of World GDP.
  3. The Top 200 corporations' combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of all countries minus the biggest 10.
  4. The Top 200s' combined sales are 18 times the size of the combined annual income of the 1.2 billion people (24 percent of the total world population) living in "severe" poverty.
  5. While the sales of the Top 200 are the equivalent of 27.5 percent of world economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world's workforce.
  6. Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms grew 362.4 percent, while the number of people they employ grew by only 14.4 percent.
  7. A full 5 percent of the Top 200s' combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of part-time workers to avoid paying benefits. The discount retail giant is the top private employer in the world, with 1,140,000 workers, more than twice as many as No. 2, DaimlerChrysler, which employs 466,938.
  8. U.S. corporations dominate the Top 200, with 82 slots (41 percent of the total). Japanese firms are second, with only 41 slots.
  9. Of the U.S. corporations on the list, 44 did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corporate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the firms actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates). These include: Texaco, Chevron, PepsiCo, Enron, Worldcom, McKesson and the world's biggest corporation - General Motors.
  10. Between 1983 and 1999, the share of total sales of the Top 200 made up by service sector corporations increased from 33.8 percent to 46.7 percent. Gains were particularly evident in financial services and telecommunications sectors, in which most countries have pursued deregulation.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
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Document revision history

Added some new stats about concentration within the multinational corporations in the world. The remainder is unchanged since May 15, 2001 for now.