Australia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Darling Harbour, Sidney

Darling Harbour, Sidney

Two of Australia’s 10 largest export companies operate in the diversified metals and mining industry. A pair of Australian oil and gas industry players also rank among the island country’s top 10 exporters.

To give some contextual perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Australian exports declined by -26% from US$256.2 billion in 2012 to $189.6 billion during 2016.

In the analysis below, we compare Australia’s top 10 export companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of May 2017. Also specified is the Australian city where each business has its headquarters.

Australia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies


Below are Australia’s biggest export companies organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown is the change in asset value as of May 2017 compared to May 2016.

  1. Commonwealth Bank (major bank): US$703.6 billion, down -7% from May 2016
  2. Westpac Banking Group (major banks): $642.7 billion, down -2.4%
  3. BHP Billiton (diversified metals, mining): $119.5 billion, up 0.7%
  4. Woodside Petroleum (oil, gas): $24.8 billion, up 4%
  5. Fortescue Metals Group (iron, steel): $19 billion, down -7%
  6. Qantas Airways (international airliner): $12.4 billion, down -1.7%
  7. Newcrest Mining (diversified metals, mining): $11.3 billion, down -27.9%
  8. Amcor (containers, packaging): $8.6 billion, up 6.4%
  9. CSL (biotechs): $8.1 billion, up 8.4%
  10. Caltex Australia (oil, gas): $3.8 billion, up 3.8%

Five of these large Australian multinationals grew their asset values from 2016 to May 2017, led by biopharmaceuticals firm CSL’s 8.4% gain.

Leading the decliners were iron and steel producer Fortescue Metals Group and major financial institution Commonwealth Bank.


Sales is the life blood of all business, but particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Yet only two of Australia’s largest export companies increased its year-over-year sales as of May 2017.

  1. BHP Billiton: US$34 billion, up 11.3% from May 2016
  2. Commonwealth Bank: $30.9 billion, down -6.6%
  3. Westpac Banking Group: $27.8 billion, down -8.1%
  4. Caltex Australia: $13.1 billion, down -11.4%
  5. Qantas Airways: $11.8 billion, down -3%
  6. Amcor: $9.4 billion, up 0.5%
  7. Fortescue Metals Group: $8.2 billion, up 17.4%
  8. CSL: $6.4 billion, up 10.3%
  9. Woodside Petroleum: $4.1 billion, down -18.6%
  10. Newcrest Mining: $3.6 billion, up 4.7%

Iron and steel producer Fortescue Metals Group recorded the leading 17.4% increase in sales followed by an 11.3% gain for diversified mining giant BHP Billiton.

Sales declines ranged from -18.6% for Woodside Petroleum down to -3% for Qantas Airlines.


All of Australia’s top 10 major export companies were profitable as of May 2017.

  1. Commercial Bank: US$7.1 billion, up 3% from May 2016
  2. Westpac Banking Group: $5.5 billion, down -12.6%
  3. BHP Billiton: $2.4 billion, reversing a -$6.1 million loss
  4. Fortescue Metals Group: $1.9 billion, up 491.4%
  5. CSL: US$1.3 billion, down -5%
  6. Woodside Petroleum: $865.5 million, reversing a -$265 million loss
  7. Qantas Airways: $636.3 million, down -18.6%
  8. Caltex Australia: $453.4 million, up 15.9%
  9. Newcrest Mining: $438.9 million, 27.7%
  10. Amcor: $220.4 million, down -66.7%

Two businesses, BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum, overcame significant losses at May 2016 to record profits as of May 2017. In percentage terms, the top gainer was iron and steel maker Fortescue Metals Group.

Leading the declines was the -66.7% drop for container and packaging firm Amcor.


Three of Australia’s top 10 major export-oriented companies have their headquarters in Sydney. Two others are located on the southeast coast in the city of Melbourne while another pair of large multinationals are based in Australia’s capital city, Perth.

  1. Amcor: Hawthorn
  2. BHP Billiton: Melbourne
  3. Caltex Australia: Sydney
  4. Commonwealth Bank: Sydney
  5. CSL: Parkville
  6. Fortescue Metals Group: Perth
  7. Newcrest Mining: Melbourne
  8. Qantas Airways: Mascot
  9. Westpac Banking Group: Sydney
  10. Woodside Petroleum: Perth


Note some of the above company offerings may include products other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.

For example, Fortescue Metals Group not only produces iron ore but also operates as a seaborne trading company.

Similarly, Newcrest Mining sells gold as well as copper concentrates.

See also Australia’s Top 10 Imports, Australia’s Top 10 Exports and Australia’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
Data.World Forbes Global 2000 2016 , Spreadsheet for 2016 Global 2000 rankings. Accessed on January 28, 2018

Forbes 2017 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Australian company compiled for this study: BHP Billiton. Accessed on January 28, 2018

Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on January 28, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on January 28, 2018

Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Australia. Accessed on January 28, 2018

Wikipedia, List of companies of Australia. Accessed on January 28, 2018