Strong oil & gas prices strengthened Royal Dutch Shell’s foothold atop the list of the largest companies in Europe. Annual sales rocketed nearly 20% for the Netherlands-based oil giant, and United Kingdom rival BP, the fifth-largest firm hailing from Europe on the Global 2000, had similarly stunning gains. But outside oil & gas, heightened trade tension has cast a bearish spell on Europe’s presence among the world’s largest companies.
A majority of the largest 25 European companies slipped in the global rankings. The second-largest European company on the Global 2000, car-maker Volkswagen, has seen its stock shed nearly 16% over the past year. It slipped two spots in the global rankings to #16. European automobile firms were hit especially hard by tariff threats, with German companies Daimler and BMW tumbling in the rankings after seeing their shares crumble over the past year.
European banks have faced weak profits in recent years but fared modestly since last year, a period that saw overall expansion for financial services firms. Although HSBC, Europe’s third-largest public company, slipped four spots in the global rankings, Spanish bank Santander saw a modest one-spot gain, and Swiss investment bank UBS leaped 68 spots in the global rankings to land at #95. Santander and UBS are #7 and #22 on the list of Europe’s largest public companies.
Rounding out Europe’s top 10, Nestle was the only firm in Europe’s the top bracket to jump multiple spots in the global rankings. The Swiss food & drink giant has seen its shares rise 29% in the past year, fueled in part by a $7 billion deal with Starbucks that grants Nestle lifetime rights to the Seattle coffeemaker’s consumer packaged goods and food service products.
All told, 501 companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa landed on the 2019 Global 2000 list.