America was built on the individual freedoms of a capitalistic economic system that offered any hard working citizen the possibility to achieve success through dedication, passion, and innovation. This bedrock for our present-day economy is responsible for the most profitable and influential companies that employ the majority of our workforce and provide many of our country’s recognizable goods and services. Fortune 500 has ranked the wealthiest American corporations in the industry in terms of profitability.
This Arizona-based wholesaler has maintained the number one title yet again as this conglomerate’s sales edge even closer to half-a-trillion dollars. For 2014, Walmart’s sales hit $473.1 billion, up 1.6% from 2013. The company expected to grow stronger domestically, but alleged that rough winter weather, losses in payroll tax cuts, and a lessening food stamp program stifled the company’s projected expansion.
2. Exxon Mobil
Coming in a close second for two years in a row, Exxon Mobil hasn’t actually been doing so hot. Exxon’s revenues declined 8.8% to $438.26 billion from 2013, while net income fell 27%. Sales did rise 8%, while assets followed with a rise of 9.4%. Exxon spent a massive amount on expenditure exploration as the oil producer plans to pursue a record-breaking 10 major projects this year, including the Gulf of Mexico and New Guinea.
Coming out of 2014 with the bronze, this California-based oil company reported a 5.4% decline in total revenue to $228.9 billion. Lower crude oil prices around the world and higher expenses were accredited to the loss in revenue. Sales, on the other hand, grew 9.7% while assets increased 8.4%. Projects in Australia and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to grow profits in 2015.
4. Berkshire Hathaway
Moving away from the world of oil and into the realm of real estate, Berkshire Hathaway takes fourth place. This Nebraska headquartered firm, famously owned by CEO Warren Buffett, rose from 2013’s fifth place rank. The company per-share book value increased 18.2% as revenues rose 12.1%. The rebounding housing market can be attributed to the firm’s success, as well as acquisition of H.J. Heinz in the past year (yes, the ketchup company).
Last, but certainly not least, Apple moved up from sixth to fifth place in 2014 with a little over $182 billion in revenue. The continuous success of the iPhone is currently being challenged by the growing popularity of Android, which can be seen as net income dropped in 2013. This is the first decrease in income in nearly a decade. The company continues to grow with the launch of new products, such as the Apple Watch, and the recent acquisition of Beats Music and Electronics for $3 billion.