German top companies continue to slide

The German economy is known for the many medium-sized companies forming its backbone. Germany’s Mittelstand contains world market leaders, often in very specific market segments. On the other hand, in the case of large German companies, the competitive situation has obviously intensified. In our analysis of the world’s 500 largest companies by stock market value, turnover, net profit and number of employees, only a few German companies can be found.

In the market value ranking at the end of the first half of the year, companies from the finance, technology, consumer goods and healthcare sectors dominated. In these areas, there are too few top companies in Germany able to play a significant international role. There’s also the fact that the cyclical sectors currently reveal very low value on the stock market. Accordingly, German automotive and chemical companies are lower in the ranking.

At country level, the US accounts for 45% of the largest 500 companies, although the number of listed companies there has been declining for some time. China (9%) and Japan (8%) follow some distance behind. Only 17 companies come from Germany (3%).

The world today is much more technology-based than it was just a few years ago, in particular when it comes to the use of mobile devices. This is also reflected in the ten largest companies worldwide, which together are valued at USD 560 billion on exchanges. Seven of the top ten companies are technology stocks, five of them from the USA and two from China.

German corporations perform better internationally in terms of the number of employees. Volkswagen, Deutsche Post and Siemens are among the 20 largest listed employers in the world.

It is unlikely that Germany’s top companies will catch up with the world’s largest corporations in the near future. There are too few “public champions” in key industries such as finance, food, technology, oil and gas.

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