Two of Australia’s 10 largest exports-related companies operate in the diversified metals and mining industry. Another pair of Australian oil and gas industry players also rank among the Oceanian island country’s major international businesses.
To give some global trade perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Australian exported goods rose by 0.5% from US$252.6 billion in 2014 to $253.8 billion during 2018. Year over year, Australia’s exports appreciated by 10.5% from 2017 to 2018.
In the analysis below, we compare Australia’s top 10 export companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of December 2018. 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 December 2018 compared to 2017.
- Commonwealth Bank (major banks): US$752.4 billion, up 6.9% from 2017
- Westpac Banking Group: $668.8 billion, up 4.1%
- BHP Billiton (diversified metals, mining): $112.6 billion, down -5.8%
- Woodside Petroleum (oil, gas): $25.4 billion, up 2.6%
- Fortescue Metals Group (iron, steel): $18.2 billion, down -4.1%
- South32 (diversified metals, mining): $14.8 billion, up 5%
- Qantas Airways (international airliner): $14 billion, up 12.1%
- CSL (biotechs): $10.4 billion, up 27.9%
- Amcor (containers, packaging): $9.1 billion, up 5.6%
- Caltex Australia (oil, gas): $5 billion, up 30.2%
Eight of these large Australian multinationals grew their asset values from 2017 to December 2018, led by petroleum industry player Caltex Australia’s 30.2% expansion then biopharmaceuticals firm CSL’s 27.9% gain.
The two decliners were metals and mining behemoth BHP Billiton (down -5.8%) plus iron and steel producer Fortescue Metals Group (down -4.1%).
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, and particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Happily, seven of Australia’s largest export companies increased their year-over-year sales as of December 2018.
- BHP Billiton: US$41.2 billion, up 21.4% from 2017
- Commonwealth Bank: $33 billion, up 6.7%
- Westpac Banking Group: $29.4 billion, up 5.9%
- Caltex Australia: $16.2 billion, up 23.5%
- Qantas Airways: $12.5 billion, up 5.6%
- Amcor: $9.1 billion, down -2.7%
- Fortescue Metals Group: $7.6 billion, down -7.5%
- CSL: $7.4 billion, up 15.6%
- South32: $7.2 billion, up 20%
- Woodside Petroleum: $3.9 billion, down -4.2%
The strongest sales grower was oil and gas producer Caltex Australia via its 23.5% uptick.
The three sales decliners were Fortescue Metals Group (down -7.5%), Woodside Petroleum (down -4.2%) and packaging competitor Amcor (down -2.7%).
All 10 of Australia’s major exports-related companies remained profitable as of December 2018.
- Commonwealth Bank: US$7.6 billion, up 7.5% from 2017
- Westpac Banking Group: $6.4 billion, up 16.8%
- BHP Billiton: $4.7 billion, up 93.4%
- Fortescue Metals Group: $1.6 billion, down -14.9%
- CSL: US$1.6 billion, up 20.3%
- South32: $1.2 billion, up 173.4%
- Woodside Petroleum: $1 billion, up 15.5%
- Qantas Airways: $724 million, up 13.8%
- Amcor: $640 million, up 190.4%
- Caltex Australia: $475 million, up 4.8%
In percentage terms, the top profit gainer was container and packaging firm Amcor via its robust 190.4% improvement year over year.
The sole profit decliner was Fortescue Metals Group thanks to its -14.9% setback.
Three of Australia’s top 10 major export-oriented companies have their headquarters in Sydney. Another trio of large multinationals are based in Australia’s capital city, Perth.
- Amcor: Hawthorn
- BHP Billiton: Melbourne
- Caltex Australia: Sydney
- Commonwealth Bank: Sydney
- CSL: Parkville
- Fortescue Metals Group: Perth
- Qantas Airways: Mascot
- South32: Perth
- Westpac Banking Group: Sydney
- Woodside Petroleum: Perth
Note some of the above company offerings may include products and services 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.
See also Australia’s Top 10 Imports, Australia’s Top 10 Exports and Australia’s Top Trading Partners
Data.World Forbes Global 2000 2016 , Spreadsheet for 2016 Global 2000 rankings. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Australian company compiled for this study: BHP Billiton. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 10, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Australia. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Wikipedia, List of companies of Australia. Accessed on October 10, 2019