Wal-Mart clings to top of Fortune 500

Posted: May 06, 2011

NEW YORK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remains atop the Fortune 500 list of America's largest companies even as it struggles to keep its U.S. customers coming in the door.

The magazine derives its list based on revenue for the most recent year. It released the 2010 Fortune 500 on Thursday. (See the full list here.)

In the eight-county Philadelphia region and northern Delaware, 13 companies made the list, topped by AmerisourceBergen Corp., a Valley Forge distributor of pharmaceutical products and services. It was No. 27.

Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable-television company, was 66th, with 2010 revenue of $37.9 billion. In January, the Philadelphia company acquired a controlling interest in NBCUniversal; if the combined company had existed last year, its revenue would have been $54.5 billion and it would have ranked 44th in the Fortune 500.

In all, 23 Pennsylvania companies - including Rite Aid Corp., United States Steel Corp., PNC Financial Services Corp., and H.J. Heinz Co. - were on the list.

In New Jersey, 20 companies made the Fortune 500, including health-benefits company Medco Health Solutions Inc., Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Prudential Financial.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, held the top spot for a second year thanks to gains at its international stores. The company's U.S. division has had seven straight quarters of declines in revenue, compared with a year earlier, at stores open at least a year.

The list was filled with examples of how rising fuel prices are affecting the economy. Wal-Mart, was followed, for example, by the three largest U.S. oil companies: Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips.

The magazine said America's top companies had profited by boosting productivity and cutting jobs. Also, like Wal-Mart, they relied on growing operations overseas. The strategy helped them increase earnings 81 percent to $318 billion. That was the third-largest combined profit gain in the list's history.

The largest jump in profit came in 2004, when Fortune 500 companies reported a more than sixfold increase in earnings. Companies that made the list a year ago - based on 2009 revenue - increased profits more than fourfold.

Fannie Mae jumped from 81st last year to round out this year's top five, though the rise was mostly due to new accounting rules and continued support from the federal government. Fannie Mae also faces a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of statements that former chief executive officer Daniel Mudd made about the mortgage giant's exposure to risky loans.

The top 10 companies also included General Electric Co., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., General Motors Co., Bank of America Corp., and Ford Motor Corp.

Ten companies cracked the list for the first time. Nineteen others, including Chrysler and Fidelity National Information Services, returned to the Fortune 500 this year.

The list includes just one newspaper company, Gannett Co. Inc., at No. 415. A decade ago, five were on it.

Fortune 500 companies in the Phila. region

Companies headquartered in the eight-county Philadelphia region and northern Delaware. Rankings are based on 2010 revenue.

Rank/CompanyIndustryRev. in billions

27. AmerisourceBergen Pharma. services$78.066. ComcastMedia37.968. SunocoEnergy35.584. DuPontChemicals32.7122. CignaInsurance21.3194. AramarkFood services12.6235. Lincoln NationalInsurance10.4301. Crown HoldingsPackaging7.9312. Campbell SoupFood7.7344. SLMStudent loans6.8407. UGIEnergy5.6408. Universal HealthHospital management5.6434. SunGard DataInformation technology5.2

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