Three of Australia’s biggest firms are banks that support financing for international trade transactions. In addition, two of Australia’s 10 largest exports-related companies operate in the oil and gas industry.
To give some global trade perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Australian exported goods rose by 42.5% from US$191.3 billion in 2015 to $272.6 billion during 2019. Year over year, Australia’s exports appreciated by 7.1% from 2018 to 2019.
In the analysis below, we compare Australia’s top 10 exports-related companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of May 2020. Also specified is the Australian city where each business has its headquarters.
Australia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are Australia’s biggest exports-related 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 2020 compared to 2018.
Note that the full name for ANZ is Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited.
- ANZ (major banks): US$703.8 billion, up 6.7% from 2018
- Commonwealth Bank (major banks): $688.8 billion, down -8.5%
- Westpac Banking Group (major banks): $611.9 billion, down -8.5%
- BHP Billiton (diversified metals, mining): $102.3 billion, down -9.1%
- Telstra (telecommunications): $32 billion, up 6.6%
- Woodside Petroleum (oil, gas): $29.4 billion, up 15.7%
- Fortescue Metals Group (iron, steel): $21.3 billion, up 17%
- Qantas Airways (international airliner): $14.3 billion, up 2.1%
- CSL (biotechs): $14.1 billion, up 35.6%
- Caltex Australia (oil, gas): $5.9 billion, up 18%
Seven of these large Australian multinationals grew their asset values from 2018 to May 2020, led by biopharmaceuticals firm CSL’s 35.6% expansion trailed by oil and gas industry player Caltex Australia’s 18% gain.
The three decliners were metals and mining behemoth BHP Billiton (down -9.1%) plus two major international banking competitors Westpac Banking Group (down -8.5%) and Commonwealth Bank (also down -8.5%).
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, and particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Five of Australia’s largest exports-related companies increased their year-over-year sales as of May 2020.
- BHP Group: US$45.8 billion, up 11.2% from 2018
- Commonwealth Bank: $27.3 billion, down -17.3%
- Westpac Banking Group: $26 billion, down -11.6%
- ANZ: $23.9 billion, up 20.5%
- Telstra: $16.6 billion, down -18.2%
- Caltex Australia: $15.3 billion, down -5.6%
- Fortescue Metals Group: $12.9 billion, up 69.7%
- Qantas Airways: $12.4 billion, down -0.8%
- CSL: $8.9 billion, up 20.3%
- Woodside Petroleum: $4.9 billion, up 25.6%
The strongest sales grower was Fortescue Metals Group via its 69.7% uptick, well ahead of Woodside Petroleum’s 25.6% increase.
Leading the sales decliners were telecommunications provider Telstra (down -18.2%), Commonwealth Bank (down -17.3%) and Westpac Banking Group (down -11.6%).
All 10 of Australia’s major exports-related companies remained profitable as of May 2020.
- BHP Group: US$9.4 billion, up 100% from 2018
- Commonwealth Bank: $7 billion, down -7.9%
- Fortescue Metals Group: $5 billion, up 212.5%
- Westpac Banking Group: $4.8 billion, down -25%
- ANZ: $2.9 billion, down -35.3%
- CSL: $2 billion, up 25%
- Telstra: $1.4 billion, down -42.9%
- Qantas Airways: $582.4 million, down -19.6%
- Woodside Petroleum: $335.3 million, down -66.5%
- Caltex Australia: $26.6 million, down -44%
As for percentage increases, the top profit gainer was Fortescue Metals Group via its robust 212.5% improvement year over year.
Leading the 7 profit decliners were Woodside Petroleum (down -66.5%) and another oil and gas player Caltex Australia (down -44%).
Three of Australia’s top 10 major export-oriented companies have their headquarters in Melbourne. Another trio of large multinationals are based in Perth, while two are headquartered in Australia’s capital city, Perth.
- ANZ: Melbourne
- BHP Group: Melbourne
- Caltex Australia: Sydney
- Commonwealth Bank: Sydney
- CSL: Parkville
- Fortescue Metals Group: Perth
- Qantas Airways: Mascot
- Telstra: Melbourne
- Westpac Banking Group: Sydney
- Woodside Petroleum: Perth
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 5, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Australian company compiled for this study: BHP Billiton. Accessed on October 5, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 5, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 5, 2020
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Australia. Accessed on October 5, 2020
Wikipedia, List of companies of Australia. Accessed on October 5, 2020