Exxon Mobil Corp. ended the 15-year reign of General Motors Corp. (GM) as number one on the annual Fortune 500 list with the company’s highest-ever revenues of $210 billion for 2000.
The U.S. oil giant, the most profitable U.S. company last year, with profits growing 124 percent to $17.7 billion, climbed from number three on Fortune’s list, with Walmart Corp. snagging the number two spot with revenues of $193.2 billion and GM falling to third with revenues of $184.6 billion.
Other U.S. oil firms made strong showings for the year, with Enron Corp. rising from number 18 to number seven and Duke Energy Corp.
skyrocketing from number 69 to number 17. Reliant Energy Inc. jumped from number 114 to number 55, while Texaco Inc. climbed from number 28 to number 16, Chevron Corp. went from number 35 to number 20 and Dynegy Inc. rose from number 112 to number 54.
The energy companies benefited from falling crude and product inventories, utility deregulation, soaring natural gas prices and OPEC production cuts designed to keep oil prices high, while high oil prices increased operating costs for most other businesses.
But, the introduction to the Fortune list cautioned that many energy companies will have a tough time hanging onto their new places on the list should energy prices drop.
The Fortune 500 ranking has been led by two U.S. industries, automobile and energy, since the list was first compiled in 1955. In 47 years, GM and Exxon have dominated the top spot.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)