Since its launch 10 years ago, the editors and researchers who compile the IW 1000 list have tweaked and refined their way through what defines a manufacturer. The list has been a labor of love, and the due diligence to present an accurate view of the 1,000 largest publicly traded manufacturing companies by revenue is evident once again. To further the accuracy of the data presented, we must make mention that on an international basis, what qualifies as revenues isn't so straightforward. The confusion starts even before different reporting standards are taken into consideration. What is reported as "sales" or "revenues" by U.S.-based companies, may be described as "turnover," "total income," "total results" or "total performance" in the financial reports filed in other countries. But whatever it's labeled, for a manufacturer this figure typically will include income that can be attributed to the delivery of goods and services to customers. In compiling the IW 1000 rankings, we did not include any gains that go directly to retained earnings, income effects of accounting changes, extraordinary income, or any income relating to discontinued operations.
Sorting all of this out for the 1,000-plus companies from the 48 countries that we considered would have been an impossible task without the assistance and resources of Mergent Inc. Located in New York and Charlotte, N.C., Mergent acquired the Financial Information Services division of Moody's Investors Service in 1998. The organization has been collecting and delivering financial information for more than 100 years.
The IW 1000 includes:
- Manufacturing companies with a majority of their business in a manufacturing industry.
- Companies that generated less than 50% of revenues from manufacturing, but more revenue from manufacturing than the lowest-revenue-producing companies on this year's list.
- Software companies whose primary business is the manufacture of software programs.
- Oil and gas companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues from the refining of oil and gas products.
- Companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues from the manufacture of mined materials.
Because all publicly traded manufacturing companies are eligible, a number of subsidiaries and associate companies that are publicly traded separately from their parent company made the list along with the parent.
Mergent collected the financial data elements directly from reports distributed by the corporations in their native currencies as reported in their headquarter countries according to national accounting standards. To accurately reflect the companies' core businesses, only revenue numbers from continuing operations were used. Currency valuations in U.S. dollars were made using exchange rates as of Dec. 26, 2004. Where 2004 data are not available, 2003 data are provided. An asterisk next to the company name on the IW 1000 list indicates that 2003 data were used. Where 2003 figures are given, revenue growth is for 2002-2003.
An "NA" appears where data were not available. For companies that recently have changed their fiscal-year ends, the most recent 12-month figures have been used.
A final word of caution: In addition to using different terms to describe total revenues, accounting standards and terminology vary from country to country. Direct comparison of figures, even when terms appear to be the same, may be misleading.