Tech companies dominate at the very top of international ranking of most valuable businesses, with more than half the members coming from the US
The world’s 100 biggest companies are together worth a staggering $16.24 trillion – almost double the amount they were valued at directly after the financial crisis.
Data compiled by PwC also revealed that for a listed business to enter the top 100 rankings of the most highly valued companies, it now needs a market capitalisation of $85bn (£56bn).
In 2009, with the global economy reeling from the impact of the financial crash, entry into the list required a market valuation of $40bn.
Apple is the world’s most valuable business , with a market cap of $725bn, according to PwC, which conducted its study on March 31, 2015. This meant the iPhone maker represents 4.5pc of the index’s total value. The success of iPhone maker’s products has seen its market value rise by 671pc since 2009, when the business was worth $94bn, when it was ranked 33rd.
Technology peer Google was placed second, with a valuation of $375bn, up from $110bn in 2009, an increase of 241pc that saw it rise from 22nd place over the period.
Energy group Exxon Mobil was third at $357bn, but its market capitalisation edged up only 6pc from $337bn since 2009, causing it to slip from first to third.
In fourth place was Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, valued at $357bn, up from $134bn, pushing the investment group up from 12th place. Microsoft was fifth, with a market cap of $334bn, a 105pc rise over the period that meant it gained one place.
Clifford Tompsett, capital markets partner at PwC, said: “Apple has enjoyed unprecedented growth. Its products, premium pricing and global leverage that enables it to launch products globally mean its reach is incredible.
“With a valuation twice that of second-placed Google it’s got to come crashing down to lose its top spot and I can’t see that happening in the near future.”
Mr Tompsett said that Exxon Mobil’s relatively stable valuation was due to its close relationship with the price of oil, which is now roughly where it was in 2009, having peaked at $147 a barrel in 2008 and then stabilised at around $100 until fairly recently.
“The others companies’ rise in valuation is down to the absolute growth of their markets,” he added, a figure reflected by the 11 technology businesses in the index in 2009 having a combined value of $997bn, compared with the 12 who now make the grade having a total valuation of $2.8 trillion.
Of the companies that were in the top 100 in 2009, 66 have retained their place. The US dominates the rankings, with 53 businesses from the country in the index, up from 47 after the financial crisis. China beats the UK into second place, with 11 members making the ranking, compared with the UK’s eight.
“US and Chinese valuations perhaps help companies from these countries get into the top 100 because they tend to be more highly rated,” said Mr Tompsett. “However, to join this elite group, companies have to be big in the US and China no matter where they are based, which is why companies from the BRICs nations will struggle unless they globalise.”
As they after effects of the financial crisis fade, these higher valuations could also be setting off a wave of M&A activity as confidence returns, he added.
“My perception is that US companies are beginning to exercise their financial muscle and valuations and looking to take aggressive action to grow through acquisition.”
This article was written by Alan Tovey Industry Editor from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.