Exxon bigger than Pakistan economy: UN

13 Aug 2002

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GENEVA, Aug 12: Twenty-nine of the world’s 100 leading economic entities are companies, with the largest — Exxon Mobil Corp — bigger than the economy of Pakistan, a United Nations survey showed on Monday.

Pakistan is a country of more than 141 million people, although just over half of those are of working age. An Exxon Mobil spokeswoman said the oil giant employed 95,000 staff worldwide.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) measured “value added” — comparing profit and wages at companies to the economic output of countries — and ranked Exxon Mobil 45th on the list with value added of $63 billion.

It found that General Motors is bigger than New Zealand while Nigeria is slotted between DaimlerChrysler and General Electric.

Tobacco company Philip Morris, with value added of $19 billion, is on a par with Tunisia, Slovakia and Guatemala, UNCTAD said.

The figures show that relative importance of the top 100 companies is on the rise, with their value-added activities accounting for 4.3 per cent of world gross domestic product in 2000 compared with 3.5 per cent in 1990.

“In general, the top companies are growing at a faster rate than countries,” Unctad spokesman Miguel Perez-Ludena said.

He said the aim of the survey was to enter into the global debate about whether such corporations were bigger than countries. It had used the value-added mechanism to provide a more accurate calculation because most other surveys measure corporate size in terms of sales or foreign assets.

“Companies are not as large as they would be if we were using sales, but they are still large enough to create more value added than whole countries, even large countries like Pakistan and Nigeria,” Perez-Ludena said. He gave no comparative figures.

The top 44 spots in the survey were all occupied by countries. —Reuters