Top 10 largest companies in Europe

William Smith
- Leadership - Jun 11, 2019

Business Chief lists the top 10 companies based in Europe by 2018 market value, as calculated by Statista.

10. SAP - $138.9bn

German software industry giant SAP is the largest in the country according to its market value of $138.9bn. Founded by five German IBM engineers in 1972, the company specialises in enterprise software for business. Indeed, the company says it is “the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best”. With its base in the town of Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, the company reported its 2018 revenue at $27.8bn, and employs over 98,600 people.

9. BP - $152.6bn

With a market value of $152.6bn, the oil and gas company BP employs 73,000 people, and gives its revenue as $299bn. Formerly British Petroleum, its current name is not an acronym, instead reflecting the fact it is no longer majority state owned. From its headquarters in London, the company oversees some 18,700 retail sites and produces the equivalent of 3.7mn barrels of oil per day.

8. Unilever - $155.8bn

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company is number eight, with a market value of $155.8bn. Formed from the amalgamation of a soap manufacturer, Britain’s Lever Brothers, and a Dutch margarine maker, Margarine Unie, in 1929, some sources say it is the world’s oldest multinational. Fittingly, it still maintains headquarters in both Rotterdam and London. With over 400 brands, Unilever says that “on any day, 2.5bn people use Unilever products”. It is no surprise, then, that the company’s 2018 revenue came in at $57.29bn. As of 2019, it employs 155,000 people.

7. Total - $168bn

The largest French company according to its market value of $168bn, Total was originally the name of its predecessor company’s brand of gasoline. The multinational oil and gas company adopted its current name in 1985, the same year its Paris HQ, the Tour Total, was completed. With over 100,000 employees, its 2018 revenue was $209.36bn. Active from the beginning to the end of the oil and gas chain, the company says it is “committed to better energy that is safer, more affordable, cleaner and accessible to as many people as possible”.

6. Anheuser-Busch InBev - $184.3bn

Multinational drink and brewing company Anheuser-Busch Inbev is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Its market value is $184.3bn, and its 2018 revenue was $54.62bn. Founded in 2008 from the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, it serves as a holding company for its subsidiaries, including Belgium’s InBev, US company Anheuser-Busch, and Brazil’s Ambev. The company’s scope means that it is ultimately the owner of many famous brands, such as Budweiser and Stella Artois. With an employee count of 182,915 as of 2017, it traces its history back to the founding of the Den Hoorn brewery in 1366.

5. Roche Holding - $189.7bn

Swiss Roche Holding is a holding company for the healthcare corporation Hoffman-La Roche. Its headquarters in Basel, Roche Tower, is Switzerland’s tallest building and the company employs almost 95,000 people. Known for its research and development spending (around $8.95bn per year), the company has developed many drugs, including Valium, and calls itself the global leader in cancer treatments. Its 2018 revenue topped $56.53bn and its market value was $189.7bn.

4. HSBC - $200.3bn

HSBC’s complex history is reflected in its name, deriving from the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, now its subsidiary company. Performing banking and financial services, it operates within four major areas of banking: commercial, investment, retail and private.  Headquartered in London, the company employed 235,000 worldwide in 2018. In the same year, its revenue reached $53.8bn. The bank credits its founding in Hong Kong as integral to its worldwide outlook, saying “the experiences of the past 150 years have helped form the bank’s character across the world”. Its market value amounts to $200.3bn.

3. Novartis - $203bn

The Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis comes in third with a market value of $203bn. Makers of numerous well-known drugs with trade names such as Ritalin and Clozaril, the business formed following a merger in 1996. From its HQ in Basel, the company employs over 125,000 people as of 2017, with a 2018 revenue of $51.9bn. Novartis’ corporate mission reads: “We reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. We use innovative science and technology to address some of society’s most challenging healthcare issues.”

2. Nestlé - $237.3bn

At $237.3bn in market value, Nestlé is the world’s largest food and drink company, releasing products across a vast range of brands – over 2000, according to the company’s figures. Nestlé operates in 190 countries, and as of 2018 employs 308,000 people with a revenue of $90.51bn. Founded in 1867, the company has a commitment to “continuing the legacy of our founder Henri Nestlé”, noting his creation of “a life-saving infant cereal more than 150 years ago”.

1. Shell - $306.5bn

With a market value of $306.5bn, Shell is the largest European company according to our metric. The oil and gas titan employs an average of 93,000 people according to its own figures, with revenue of $388.4bn as of 2018. Founded in 1907 from the amalgamation of Dutch and English businesses, the company retains its Anglo-Dutch nature with bases in both countries. Involved in every part of the industry, the company describes itself as “an integrated energy company that aims to meet the world’s growing demand for energy in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible”.

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