IW 1000: Any Way You Slice It

June 12, 2006
The IW 1000 list contains myriad metrics. What's the best way to digest them?

Traditionally, IndustryWeek presented its annual list of the world's 1,000 biggest manufacturers in the pages of the magazine. The list, complete with 6,000 data points (rank, company name, revenue, net income, profit margin and revenue growth for 1,000 companies), sprawled over 10 pages and offered little in the way of analysis. After all, it is difficult to find out how many companies call Sweden home just by looking at a static list.

Another golden nugget that was missing from the static list: industries. Even if IW included the information in its magazine list, there is no easy way to view all the companies in printing and publishing, beverages or chemicals -- unless, of course, you sit down with a pen and tick off all the companies by hand. To save readers time and to ensure accuracy (no offense, but human errors do occur), IW decided to present this year's IW 1000 list exclusively online. The searchable IW 1000 database has always resided on www.industryweek.com (located under the Rankings tab) and has always enabled users to slice and dice the information.

In addition to sorting by industry and location, you can search by company name. You also can search and sort by revenue growth and total revenue. Even better, you can obtain information from past lists. In fact, you can access the IW 1000 all the way back to the turn of the century. Impressive sounding, isn't it? But we are talking about the IW 1000 list from 2000, which is based on 1999 financial information.

Historical data can prove interesting. For the 2000 list, General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG and Toyota Motor Corp. were the first five companies (in order) on the list.

Jump to the current list and you will see Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell Group, BP PLC, Chevron Corp. and General Motors residing in the top five positions.

Methodology: Arriving At The Top 1,000 Companies

Search The Database

Search and view the entire eleventh annual IW 1000 list of the world's largest publicly held manufacturing firms.

View the entire list alphabetically or sort the list by several categories including industry, country, ranking, and financial performance measures.
The IW 1000 list is based on revenue. The more revenue a company makes, the higher on the list it will appear. Please note 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 didn't 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 46 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.

We used Mergent's global databases to identify all publicly held manufacturing firms meeting IW's industry-selection criteria. The cutoff for inclusion on the 2006 IW 1000 list was just over $2 billion in revenues. (In 2000, it was $1.64 billion.) Under the direction of John Pedernales and lead by Ricardo Angel, with the assistance of Hanif Mohamed, Melissa Magann, Jennifer Weidlich and Jeff Zazzaro, Mergent obtained the latest financial information on these manufacturing companies. Erik L. Fine, a Charlotte, N.C.-based information consultant, managed the overall data collection effort.

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, too.

Mergent collected the financial data elements directly from reports distributed by the corporations in their native currencies as reported in their headquarter countriesaccording 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, 2005. Where 2005 data are not available, 2004 data are provided. An asterisk next to the company name on the IW 1000 list indicates that 2004 data were used. Where 2004 figures are given, revenue growth represents 2003 to 2004.

An "NA" appears where data were not available. For companies that recently have changed their fiscal-year ends, the most recent 12-month figures were 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.

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