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Definitions and Explanations
Revenues and profits

All companies on the list must publish financial data and report part or all of their figures to a government agency. In the U.S., private companies and cooperatives that produce a 10-K are included. Figures are as reported, and comparisons are with the prior year's figures as originally reported for that year. Fortune does not restate the prior year's figures for changes in accounting

Revenue figures include consolidated subsidiaries and reported revenues from discontinued operations but exclude excise taxes. For banks, revenue is the sum of gross interest income and gross noninterest income. For insurance companies, revenue includes premium and annuity income, investment income, realized capital gains or losses, and other income, but excludes deposits.

Profits are shown after taxes, after extraordinary credits or charges if any appear on the income statement, and after cumulative effects of accounting changes. Figures in parentheses indicate a loss. Profit declines of more than 100% reflect swings from 2007 profits to 2008 losses. Profits for partnerships and cooperatives are reported but are not comparable with those of the other companies on the list because they are not taxed on a comparable basis. Profits for mutual insurance companies are based on statutory accounting.

Data shown are for the fiscal year ended on or before March 31, 2009. Revenue and profit figures for non-U.S. companies have been converted to U.S. dollars at the average exchange rate during each company's fiscal year (ended Dec. 31, 2008, unless otherwise noted).

Assets and equity

Assets shown are those at the company's fiscal year-end. Stockholders' equity is the sum of capital stock, paid-in capital, and retained earnings on the same date. Minority interest is not included.

Figures for non-U.S. companies have been converted to U.S. dollars at the exchange rate at each company's fiscal year-end.


The figure shown is either a fiscal year-end or yearly average number, as published by the company. industry tables

Companies are included in the industry that represents the greatest volume of their revenues. Industry groups are based on categories established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Medians

No attempt has been made to calculate medians in groups with fewer than four companies. The medians for profit changes from 2007 to 2008 do not include companies that lost money in 2007 or lost money in both 2007 and 2008, because no meaningful percentage changes can be calculated in such cases.


This year's Fortune Global 500 was prepared under the direction of senior list editor L. Michael Cacace. He was assisted by senior reporter Richard K. Tucksmith and reported Douglas Elam, who helped compile and verify the data. Cindy Kano (Tokyo) reviewed and verified figures for Japanese companies. Editorial assistant Zhang Dan (Beijing) reviewed and verified figures for Chinese companies. FORTUNE Korea provided assistance for South Korean companies. Staff in Britain, France, Germany, and India gathered data in those countries. Marilyn Adamo, director of Fortune's Business Information Research Center, provided supporting documentation, and database administrator Larry Shine supplied the technical support. The data verification process was aided by information provided by Thomson Reuters, Hoovers, and Standard & Poors Compustat.

If you have further questions about the Fortune 500, please e-mail lists@cnnmoney.com.

From the July 20, 2009 issue
Find your top companies
 High revenue growth  High profit growth
 Based in Asia  Based in Europe
 Based in U.S.  Top 5 in its industry
 Big employer  Small employer

Rank # of Global 500 Companies
U.S. 140
Japan 68
France 40
Company 2008 Number of Employees
Wal-Mart Stores 2,100,000
China National Petroleum 1,618,393
State Grid 1,537,000
Company 2008 Profits
($ millions)
Exxon Mobil $45,220
Gazprom $29,864
Royal Dutch Shell $26,277
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