13 of 20
Global 500 rank: 52
2008 loss ($ millions): $7,837*

Another record-setting loss came from Tokyo-based Hitachi, which makes everything from ATMs to washing machines. Its loss is the largest ever for a Japanese manufacturer. With discretionary purchases on the decline, demand for goods coming out of its consumer products division, such as flat-panel TVs, took a significant hit. It also took a blow on a weak dollar and euro, which decreased the value of its earnings outside Japan.

Some analysts say part of the problem for the company is its scale of products and services. Hitachi has been trying to concentrate on its most profitable divisions like telecommunications, which was profitable this year. But it wasn't enough to offset struggling units like power and industrial systems, which includes construction machinery and automotive products, and its high functional materials division, responsible for making semiconductors.

NEXT: Alcatel-Lucent
Last updated July 08 2009: 12:11 PM ET
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* Also lost money in 2007.
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