A pair of Brazil’s largest exports-related companies are players operating in the iron and steel industry while two other mammoth Brazilian firms are food processing businesses.
In addition, a duo of large multinational financial institutions–Banco do Brasil and Banco Bradesco–service and support international trade transactions made by exporters.
To give some international trade perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Brazilian exports rose by 6.6% from US$225.1 billion in 2014 to $239.9 billion during 2018. Year over year, Brazil’s total exported goods appreciated by 10.2% from 2017 to 2018.
In the analysis below, we compare Brazil’s top 10 exports-oriented companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of December 2018. Also presented is the Brazilian city where each business has its headquarters.
Brazil’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are Brazil’s biggest export-oriented 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.
- Banco do Brasil (regional bank): US$412.8 billion, down -4.1% from 2017
- Banco Bradesco (regional bank): $370.5 billion, up 2.2%
- Petrobras (oil, gas): $248 billion, up 0.3%
- Vale (iron, steel): $94.4 billion, down -4.8%
- JBS (food processing): $32.8 billion, up 3.8%
- Cielo (payment systems): $25 billion, up 166.5%
- Itaúsa (industrial conglomerate): $19.8 billion, up 9.2%
- Braskem (specialized chemicals): $16.1 billion, up 1.4%
- Metalurgica Gerdau (iron, steel): $15.4 billion, down -8.4%
- BRF (food processing): $14.2 billion, up 3.2%
Seven of these large Brazilian exporters grew their asset base from 2017 to December 2018, led by payment systems provider Cielo via its 166.5% increase. In second place was industrial conglomerate Itaúsa (up 9.2%) trailed by food processor BRF (up 3.8%).
The three asset decliners were two iron and steel producers namely Metalurgica Gerdau (down -8.4%) and Vale (down -4.8%) as well as Banco do Brasil (down -4.1%).
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Eight of the biggest Brazilian companies grew their sales from 2017 to December 2018, ranging from 2% for payment processor Cielo up to 25.6% for iron and steel producer Vale.
- Petrobras: US$90 billion, up 11% from 2017
- Banco Bradesco: $76.5 billion, up 9.1%
- Banco do Brasil: $55 billion, down -4%
- JBS: $51.1 billion, up 4.5%
- Vale: $34.1 billion, up 25.6%
- Braskem: $12.1 billion, down -12.4%
- Metalurgica Gerdau: $12.1 billion, up 12%
- BRF: $10.5 billion, up 8.5%
- Cielo: $3.6 billion, up 2%
- Itaúsa: $1.6 billion, up 19.4%
Year over year, the two sales decliners were specialized chemicals firm Braskem (down -12.4%) and Banco do Brasil (down -4%).
Eight of the Brazil’s largest firms were profitable at December 2018. Two companies endured losses during the latest period, specifically food processor BRF plus iron and steel maker Metalurgica Gerdau.
- Banco Bradesco: US$4.7 billion, up 8.5% from 2017
- Vale: $4.6 billion, up 20.4%
- Banco do Brasil: $3.4 billion, up 47.8%
- Itaúsa: $2.6 billion, up 10.2%
- Cielo: $1.3 billion, up 13%
- Braskem: $1.3 billion, reversing a -$136 million loss%
- Petrobras: $642 million, reversing a -$4.3 billion loss
- JBS: $189 million, up 75.2%
- Metalurgica Gerdau: -$102 million, down -74.2%
- BRF: -$352 million, up 229.6%
Food processor JBS increased its profits by 75.2% from $108 million in 2017 to $189 million at December 2018.
Two other major exports-related businesses enjoyed bottom-line profits transitioning from losses in 2017. Oil and gas player Petrobas garnered $642 million in black ink reversing a -$4.3 billion loss one year earlier, while specialized chemicals supplier Braskem transitioned from -$136 million in 2017 to a $1.3 billion profit at December 2018.
Three of Brazil’s top 10 major companies have their headquarters in São Paulo, located in the Brazil’s southeastern region and the second-most highly populated Brazilian city. Rio de Janiero is the second-most populous Brazilian city and home to two other top enterprises. In contrast, just Banco do Brasil is based in Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia.
- Banco Bradesco: Osasco
- Banco do Brasil: Brasilia
- Braskem: Camaçari
- BRF: São Paulo
- Cielo: Barueri
- Itaúsa: São Paulo
- JBS: São Paulo
- Metalurgica Gerdau: Porto Alegre
- Petrobras: Rio de Janiero
- Vale: Rio de Janiero
Note: Some of the above company offerings may include products or services other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.
For example, Itaúsa is an industrial conglomerate that operates not only in manufacturing but also in the financial services sector including commercial banking and consumer credit. Itaúsa makes a range of items such as wood products, bathroom fixtures and furniture fittings.
See also Brazil’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 10 Imports and Top Brazilian Trade Balances
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 Brazilian company compiled for this study: Itaúsa. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies for Brazil. Accessed on October 10, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Brazil. Accessed on October 10, 2019
Wikipedia, List of companies of Brazil. Accessed on October 10, 2019