German Topkonzerne fall back - Clock USA and China | Economy | DW

German Topkonzerne fall back – Clock USA and China | Economy | KG

According to a study, the German big corporations lose their connection to the world leaders in sales and profit growth. In the United States, the largest companies in the past year, sales increased by an average of nine percent, Asia's major companies managed growth of 8.4 percent. In European terms, sales growth was 4.3 percent. The figures come from a study published on Tuesday by the consulting firm EY.

The consulting firm evaluated the balance sheets of the top 1000 listed companies in the world. Among them were 44 German companies. Banks and insurance companies were not analyzed. In determining the average growth figures, the oil and gas companies were also excluded. Their massive earnings and revenue growth in the past year would have led to strong distortions, it says in the release of EY.

Top German companies lagging behind in growth

The 44 German companies In 2018, total growth was the last word in growth. Accordingly, sales increased on average by only 1.2 percent compared with the previous year, while operating profit (EBIT) even fell by ten percent.

VW holds the German flag high: In the profit ranking, the car maker is still ranked 14th, with sales seventh.

VW holds the German flag high: In the profit ranking, the car maker is still ranked 14th, with sales seventh.

"After a few very good years, German top companies suffered numerous setbacks in the past year – also because they are so internationalized and thus suffer above-average levels of international trade tensions," explained Alexander Kron, a member of the EY management board.

The leader in the profit ranking was the iPhone maker Apple with the equivalent of 60 billion euros. According to information, the South Korean electronics group Samsung came second with a good 45 billion euros, followed by the US software company Microsoft (just under 30 billion). The most profitable European company was the oil company Royal Dutch Shell in fourth place with around 27 billion euros. Volkswagen came in as the best German group with just under 14 billion euros in 25th place. Overall, seven of the top ten were based in the US.

Clock USA and China

"The top US corporations are the measure of things in many industries right now, benefiting from the large and prosperous domestic market and the outstanding development of US technology companies," said Kron, who has little to oppose Europe at the moment Moreover, many European companies suffered from the trade dispute between the US and China.

According to the information, 299 companies from the United States ranked among the top 1000 listed companies worldwide. 146 companies from Japan made it onto the list, China followed with 79 companies, 45 from Great Britain and France and 44 from Germany.

The German companies are thus also the big losers in the development of profits: US companies came to 8.1 percent growth, Asian companies even to 9.8 percent. Europe's major corporations increased their profits by 3.9 percent – while German companies lost ten percent. EY emphasized: "No other major economy has seen a drop in profits at its top corporations over the past year." EY considered the operating profit, ie the deduction of taxes and interest.

According to an EY study, an "unfavorable industry mix" has forced this development: In Europe, companies from traditional industries are strongly overrepresented: 34 percent of the top European companies come from the automotive industry, mechanical and plant engineering or the chemical industry – in North America, the industrial share would be only at 20 percent. "Europe with Germany in the center is a strong industrial location – and it is precisely the traditional industries that are currently struggling," observes Alexander Kron. The US and China are currently the clock in the digital economy. "Europe has not found an answer to that."

hb / bea (dpa, afp, EY press release)

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