- Apple and Microsoft are the highest valued companies in the world
- Eight of the ten most expensive companies are US corporations
- Switzerland holds fifth place in the country ranking
- Nestlé, Roche, and Novartis in the top 100, another 13 firms based in Switzerland appear in the top 500
On international stock markets, companies from the United States further extended their supremacy this year: The number of US corporations among the world’s 100 most valuable companies at the end of 2021 rose from 58 in the previous year to 61. The world’s most valuable company at the end of 2021 is Apple, with a market capitalization of USD 2.9 trillion, followed by Microsoft (USD 2.5 trillion), and Google's parent company Alphabet (USD 1.9 trillion).
Top 100: Switzerland with three heavyweights
Switzerland continues to be represented in this ranking by three companies: Nestlé in 22nd place (USD 381.5 billion), Roche in 25th place (USD 337.2 billion), and Novartis in 62nd place (around USD 195.5 billion). This means that Switzerland shares fourth place in the country ranking with Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands, which are also represented by three companies each.
France, in third place, has four companies in the top 100, including LVHM, the most valuable European company at the end of 2021; Germany, in sixth place, is represented by two companies (SAP and Siemens) in the top 100.
These are the findings of an analysis by EY, which examines the market capitalizations of the world’s most highly valued companies every six months.
Top 500: Switzerland represented by 16 companies
If this list of the world’s most valuable listed companies is expanded from 100 to 500 as per the end of 2021, Switzerland is represented by a further 13 firms in addition to Nestlé, Roche, and Novartis: Richemont (ranked 186), Chubb Limited (195), ABB (219), Glencore (271), Zurich Insurance (277), UBS (289), Lonza (292), Sika (318), TE Connectivity (356), Givaudan (413), STMicroelectronics (448), Partners Group (471), and Alcon (472).
Stefan Rösch-Rütsche, Country Managing Partner of EY in Switzerland, comments: “By international standards, and also in view of Switzerland’s size as a country, this is an excellent record. It is clear that Switzerland continues to have numerous companies that operate globally and are also successful globally. On the one hand, this success is based on solid infrastructure, stable political conditions, the market-economy framework, and a level of tax, but, on the other hand, it also bears witness to the innovative strength and market power of Swiss companies.”
Europe loses favor with global investors
At the end of 2007, 46 of the world’s top 100 companies were still headquartered in Europe. Now there are just 16. “We are observing a significant loss of importance for Europe on world stock markets,” says Stefan Rösch-Rütsche. The United States is clearly ahead in innovative and technology-driven industries.
In Europe, the national economies remain focused on traditional industrial sectors: “Europe is dominated mainly by established automotive, pharmaceutical, and commodity groups. And we have – despite the financing boom in the start-up sector – few young companies that make it to the top of the world in terms of revenue and market capitalization,” says Stefan Rösch-Rütsche of EY Switzerland. Nor does the rise of the German biotech company BioNTech show that there is any shortage of inquiring minds in Europe: The vaccine manufacturer climbed in the stock market ranking from position 1,153 (end of 2019) to 896 (end of 2020) to its current placing of 296. Its market capitalization currently stands at USD 61.5 billion.
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