France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Glass Pyramid, Louvre

Glass Pyramid, Louvre

Two of France’s 10 largest export companies compete in the automotive industry. Another pair of huge French manufacturers from the construction materials sector also rank among the country’s top 10 product exporters.

To give some contextual perspective on the selected companies’ performance, the overall value of French exports declined by -12.5% from US$558.5 billion in 2012 to $488.9 billion during 2016.

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

France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies


Below are France’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 2016.

  1. Total (oil, gas): US$231 billion, up 2.9% from 2016
  2. AIRBUS (aerospace, defense): $126.2 billion, up 3.1%
  3. Sanofi (pharmaceuticals): $110.4 billion, down -0.7%
  4. Renault (car/trucker maker): $107.7 billion, up 9.5%
  5. Christian Dior (clothing, accessories): $68.3 billion, up 0.3%
  6. Peugeot (car/trucker maker): $48.2 billion, down -10.4%
  7. Danon (processed food, drinks): $46.35 billion, up 30.6%
  8. Saint-Gobain (construction materials): $46.2 billion, down -5.1%
  9. Schneider Electric (electrical equipment): $44.1 billion, down -4.8%
  10. L’Oréal Group (household, personal care): $37.6 billion, up 2.7%

Six of these large French multinationals grew their asset values from 2016 to May 2017.

Food and beverages giant Danone achieved a 30.6% asset gain year over year. In second place was aerospace and defense sector leader AIRBUS via a 9.5% improvement in asset size.

Automaker Peugeot endured the greatest reduction in asset size, down -10.5%.


Sales is the life blood of all business, and particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Four of France’s largest export-oriented companies increased its year-over-year sales as of May 2017.

  1. Total: US$128.1 billion, down -10.7% from 2016
  2. AIRBUS: $73.7 billion, up 3.1%
  3. Peugeot: $59.8 billion, down -1.3%
  4. Renault: $56.7 billion, up 12.7%
  5. Christian Dior: $43.7 billion, up 5%
  6. Saint-Gobain: $43.2 billion, down -1.6%
  7. Sanofi: $37.4 billion, down -7.7%
  8. L’Oréal Group: $28.6 billion, up 2.1%
  9. Schneider Electric: $27.3 billion, down -7.5%
  10. Danon: $24.3 billion, down -2.5%

Posting the strongest increase in sales was automaker Renault (up 12.7%) followed by fashion icon Christian Dior (up 5%), aerospace player AIRBUS (up 3.1%) and consumer products supplier L’Oréal Group (up 2.1%).

Among the six remaining companies, oil and gas competitor Total endured the most severe sales slowdown via a -10.7% drop. This compares with a much more modest -1.3% downtick for Peugeot.


Despite a slowing global economy, all of France’s top 10 major export companies managed to remain profitable as of May 2017.

  1. Total: US$6.2 billion, up 24% from 2016
  2. Sanofi: $5.2 billion, up 8.3%
  3. Renault: $3.8 billion, up 22.6%
  4. L’Oréal Group: $3.4 billion, down -8.1%
  5. Christian Dior: $2 billion, up 17.6%
  6. Peugeot: $1.9 billion, up 90%
  7. Schneider Electric: $1.9 billion, up 18.8%
  8. Danon: $1.9 billion, up 35.7%
  9. Saint-Gobain: $1.5 billion, up 7.1%
  10. AIRBUS: $1.1 billion, down -63.3%

Eight of France’s top 10 major export-oriented companies managed to boost their bottom lines in the latest May 2017 period. Peugeot accelerated its profits by 90% from 2016, versus profit gains of 35.7% for food and beverages conglomerate Danone, 24% for oil and gas giant Total and 22.6% more black ink for Renault.

Two mammoth French businesses experienced profit shrinkage from 2016 to May 2017: AIRBUS (down -63.3%) and L’Oréal Group (down -8.1%).


Four of France’s top 10 major export companies have their headquarters located in the capital city of Paris, with two other mammoth companies based in the nearby community of Courbevoie.

  1. AIRBUS: Toulouse
  2. Christian Dior: Paris
  3. Danon: Paris
  4. L’Oreal Group: Paris
  5. Peugeot: Paris
  6. Renault: Boulogne-Billancourt
  7. Saint-Gobain: Courbevoie
  8. Sanofi: Paris
  9. Schneider Electric: Rueil-Malmaison
  10. Total: Courbevoie


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

For example, AIRBUS produces aircraft, helicopters, missiles, satellites, defense systems and electronics.

Similarly, Schneider Electric sells industrial engineering equipment, minerals, metals, food and beverages. The company also provides automation, control and cooling services as well as data centers and water treatment.

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

Research Sources:
Data.World Forbes Global 2000 2016 , Spreadsheet for 2016 Global 2000 rankings. Accessed on January 21, 2018

Forbes 2017 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top French company compiled for this study: Total. Accessed on January 21, 2018

Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on January 21, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on January 21, 2018

Wikipedia, Category: Companies of France. Accessed on January 21, 2018

Wikipedia, List of companies of France. Accessed on January 21, 2018