Brazil’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil

Three of Brazil’s 10 largest export companies are players in the iron and steel industry. Three other mammoth Brazilian firms are food processing businesses, while the largest multinational in Brazil Petrobras is a world-class oil and gas competitor.

To give some contextual perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Brazilian exports fell by -25.4% from US$256 billion in 2011 to $191.1 billion during 2015. One reason behind the drop in the overall value of Brazilian exports is global plunge in oil prices over the past five years.

In the analysis below, we compare Brazil’s top 10 export companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of May 2016. 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 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 2016 compared to 2015.

  1. Petrobras (oil, gas): US$227.5 billion, down -28.7% from 2015
  2. Vale (iron, steel): $87.3 billion, down -29.4%
  3. JBS (food processing): $31.3 billion, up 7.5%
  4. Metalurgica Gerdau (iron, steel): $17.8 billion, down -28.4%
  5. Braskem (specialized chemicals): $15.2 billion, down -26%
  6. Itaúsa (industrial conglomerate): $13.9 billion, down -22.1%
  7. Cosan (food processing): $12.6 billion, up 0.2%
  8. CSN (iron, steel): $12.3 billion, down -42.5%
  9. BRF-Brasil Foods (food processing): $10.6 billion, down -22.5%
  10. Embraer (aerospace, defense): $10.4 billion, up 3%

Only three of these large Brazilian exporters grew their asset base from 2015 to May 2016: food processor JBS (up 7.5%), aerospace and defense firm Embraer (up 3%) and other food processor Cosan (up 0.2%).

Asset declines ranged from -22.1% for Brazilian industrial conglomerate Itaúsa to an even more dramatic -42.5% drop for iron and steel provider CSN.


Sales is the life blood of all business, particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Yet only three top Brazilian companies grew their sales: food processor JBS (up 13.4%), aerospace and defense firm (up 0.6%) and another food processor Cosan (up 0.2%).

  1. Petrobras: US$96.3 billion, down -31.8% from 2015
  2. JBS: $48.8 billion, up 13.4%
  3. Vale: $25.6 billion, down -46.2%
  4. Cosan: $14.2 billion, up 0.2%
  5. Braskem: $14.2 billion, down -25.5%
  6. Metalurgica Gerdau: $13.1 billion, down -29.5%
  7. BRF-Brasil Foods: $9.6 billion, down -31.6%
  8. Embraer: $6.3 billion, up 0.6%
  9. CSN: $4.6 billion, down -42.6%
  10. Itaúsa: $1.5 billion, down -43.8%

Sales declines ranged from a severe -46.2% drop for iron and steel supplier Vale to a more modest -25.5% decline for Braskem, a specialized chemicals company Braskem.


Facing down the slowing global economy, seven of the largest firms posted profits as of May 2016. However, the remaining three businesses experienced tough losses: iron and steel company Vale (down from a $100 million profit), petroleum behemoth Petrobas (plunging from a $10.9 billion profit) and iron and steel competitor Metalurgica Gerdau (slipping froma $200 million profit).

  1. Itaúsa: US$2.7 billion, up 1.9% from 2015
  2. JBS: $1.4 billion, up 247.5%
  3. Braskem: $940.1 million, up 370.1%
  4. BRF-Brasil Foods: $874.5 million, up 74.9%
  5. CSN: $376.6 million, up 88.3%
  6. Embraer: $338.2 million, down -15.5%
  7. Cosan: $121.5 million, up 21.5%
  8. Metalurgica Gerdau: -$679.2 million, down -439.6%
  9. Petrobras: -$10.4 billion, down -195.7%
  10. Vale: -$13.2 billion, down -13,340%

Specialized chemicals firm Braskem posted the greatest profitability growth, up 370.1% from $200 million in 2015 to $940.1 million as of May 2016. Posting an equally impressive profit improvement was food processor JBS’s 247.5% gain, followed by more modest profit growth for iron and steel player CSN (up 88.3%), BRF-Brasil Foods (up 74.9%), food processing competitor Cosan (up 21.5%) and industrial conglomerate Itaúsa (up 1.9%).


Five of Brazil’s top 10 major export 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.

  1. Petrobras: Rio de Janiero
  2. Vale: Rio de Janiero
  3. JBS: São Paulo
  4. Metalurgica Gerdau: Porto Alegre
  5. Braskem: Camaçari
  6. Itaúsa: São Paulo
  7. Cosan: São Paulo
  8. CSN: São Paulo
  9. BRF-Brasil Foods: São Paulo
  10. Embraer: São José dos Campos


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

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Brazilian company compiled for this study: Itaúsa. Accessed on October 2, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 2, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on October 2, 2016

Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Brazil. Accessed on October 2, 2016

Wikipedia, List of companies of Brazil. Accessed on October 2, 2016