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Big Oil reigns atop Fortune 500

May 07, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard
  • A Chevron station in San Francisco. The San Ramon, Calif., oil giant was No. 3 on Fortune magazine's list of the largest U.S. companies, the highest rank of any California enterprise.
A Chevron station in San Francisco. The San Ramon, Calif., oil giant was… (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg )

With energy prices high, Big Oil rules atop the Fortune 500, helping to put Texas just a hair behind California as home to the highest-revenue corporations -- 52 firms, compared with the Golden State's 53.

The magazine's latest list of mega-enterprises, released Monday, showed Exxon Mobil in the Dallas suburb of Irving edging out Wal-Mart Stores for the top spot, with 2011 revenue of $453 billion, compared with $447 billion at the Arkansas-based retailer.

The Lone Star State had two more oil companies high on the list -- ConocoPhillips, in fourth place at $237 billion in revenue, and Valero, at No. 12 with $125 billion. Other high-ranked Texas firms included AT&T at No. 11 ($127 billion) and Dell at No. 44 ($62 billion).

Another oil giant, Chevron, in San Ramon, Calif., was the highest-ranked California company and third-ranked in the country, with $246 billion in revenue.

Other California corporations up high: Computer legend Hewlett-Packard of Palo Alto held the No. 10 spot ($127 billion), followed by drug wholesaler McKesson of San Francisco at No. 14 ($122 billion) and No. 17 Apple Computer of Cupertino ($108 billion).

Of course, revenue isn't everything. As far as the stock market is concerned, Apple is more valuable than any other company, with a market capitalization of $534 billion as of Monday morning.

And although Bank of America (No. 13 on the Fortune list), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (16) and Citigroup (20) have more revenue than Wells Fargo (26), the San Francisco bank beat them all for market value -- $178 billion, compared with $160 billion at runner-up JPMorgan Chase.

Southern California has seen a dramatic reduction in major corporate headquarters over the last few decades, as consolidation in the financial and media industries and the departure of aerospace and engineering giants have reduced the ranks of Fortune 500 companies.

Large Southland companies remaining include Walt Disney of Burbank (No. 66, $41 billion), tech-products wholesaler Ingram Micro of Santa Ana (No. 81, $36 billion), DirecTV of El Segundo (No. 105, $27 billion), L.A.'s Occidental Petroleum (No. 122, $24 billion) and biotech giant Amgen in Thousand Oaks (No. 168, $16 billion).


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