- Apple is the highest valued company in the world – closely followed by Saudi Aramco and Microsoft
- Nine out of the top ten most expensive companies are US corporations – Europe is continuing to lose importance
- The cumulative market value of the world's 100 most expensive companies fell by 20 percent to USD 28.6 trillion in 2022
- With the three companies Nestlé, Roche and Novartis, Switzerland once again occupies fifth place in the country ranking of the Top 100 companies
ZURICH, DECEMBER 29, 2022 – The events and developments of 2022 are having consequences for global capital markets. Overall, the valuations of listed companies have declined significantly. The 100 most valuable companies globally lost a total of USD 7.2 trillion in market capitalization over the course of the year. The cumulative capitalization of the top 100 fell by 20 percent to around USD 28.6 trillion. It is worth noting that the "consumer goods" and "technology" sectors suffered particularly sharp losses in substance. The stock market value of consumer goods manufacturers and technology companies fell by 29 and 27 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, companies from the "Energy" and "Industry" sectors made the strongest gains towards the end of the year. Eight and nine companies from these two sectors made it into the top 100, respectively; last year, the number was five in each case.
These are the results of an analysis by the auditing and consulting firm EY, which examines the market capitalization of the highest valued companies worldwide every six months. The deadline for this analysis is 27 December 2022 after the close of trading.
US companies continue to dominate
Companies from the US have maintained their supremacy on international stock exchanges again this year. At the end of 2022, 61 US corporations were among the 100 most valuable companies in the world (previous year: 62). The dominance of US companies becomes even clearer when we look at the top 10: Of the ten most valuable companies in the world, nine are from the US. The most valuable company in the world is Apple, with a market value of USD 2.1 trillion. New in second place is Saudi Aramco, the only company in the top 10 not headquartered in the USA. The oil company from Saudi Arabia is valued at USD 1.9 trillion, pushing Microsoft (USD 1.8 trillion) and Google parent company Alphabet (USD 1.1 trillion) down to third and fourth place. The other ranks are occupied by the US companies Amazon (USD 847 billion), Berkshire Hathaway (USD 674 billion) and UnitedHealth (USD 497 billion).
Technology companies under pressure
Technology companies have lost ground overall. As a result, at the end of 2022 the industry is still represented in the top 100 by 21 companies, compared with 28 a year ago, and the remaining companies have lost value and, consequently, ranking positions, in some cases significantly. The top US corporations Tesla, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, which are all in the top 10, as a whole lost almost USD 4.6 trillion in value.
"The sharp rise in interest rates, inflation, the war in Ukraine, supply chain problems and rising energy prices worldwide – all of these developments have left their mark on world exchanges. Many technology companies had gained massively in value during the pandemic and are now facing a significantly more challenging economic environment," says Stefan Rösch-Rütsche, Country Managing Partner of EY in Switzerland. Accordingly, particularly highly valued growth companies have recently come under pressure.
Switzerland ranks 5th worldwide – 12 Swiss corporations among the top 500
Switzerland is still in the top 100 with the three usual names – Nestlé ranks 23rd (market value USD 321.2 billion), Roche 32nd (USD 261.6 billion) and Novartis 45th with a value of around USD 196.3 billion. This puts Switzerland in fifth place in the country ranking.
"The long-term stable presence of Swiss companies in the top 100 rankings is a positive sign that Switzerland is continuing to operate successfully in an international context and plays an important role in the European and global economy as a relatively small country," says Stefan Rösch-Rütsche.
A total of nine Swiss companies have made it into the top 300. In addition to Nestlé, Roche and Novartis, these are: Chubb Limited (ranked 144), Glencore (153), Richemont (182), Zurich Insurance (190), UBS (238) and ABB (246). With a view to the top 500 most valuable companies in the world, a total of 12 Swiss companies can be named. These include in addition: Sika (445), TE Connectivity (461) and Lonza (462).
Europe's importance in capital markets is continuing to decline
There are currently no European companies among the world's top 10. And of the 100 most valuable companies, only 15 are headquartered in Europe and 19 come from Asia. The importance of Europe on global stock exchanges has been declining for years, and the past year did not bring a turnaround. Before the financial crisis – at the end of 2007 – 46 of the 100 most valuable companies in the world came from Europe.
The most valuable European company is currently the French luxury group LVMH, which is ranked 15. In addition to LVMH, four other companies from France rank among the top 100: L'Oréal (ranked 49), Hermès (58), TotalEnergies (62) and Christian Dior (84). Germany is not represented in the top 100 ranking at the end of 2022. The highest-rated German group is the software provider SAP, which is ranked 106th with a market value of USD 121 billion. The UK has four companies is among the world's top 100: AstraZeneca (ranked 41), Shell (44), Linde (59) and Unilever (91).
In this context, Stefan Rösch-Rütsche remarks that many European companies are in the midst of profound transformation processes in their business models, while only few young European companies make it to the top globally. He continues: "The situation is quite different in the US, where the financing situation is significantly better, not least for young companies.” The capital market in Europe is still highly fragmented, while there is a wider range of cheap and flexible sources of financing in the US.
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