France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Glass Pyramid, Louvre

Glass Pyramid, Louvre

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

To give some contextual perspective on recent company 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 2016. 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 2016 compared to 2015.

  1. Total (oil, gas): US$224.5 billion, down -6.1% from 2015
  2. EADS (aerospace, defense): $122.4 billion, down -4.9%
  3. Sanofi (pharmaceuticals): $111.2 billion, down -16%
  4. Renault (car/trucker maker): $98.4 billion, down -4.7%
  5. Christian Dior (clothing, accessories): $68.1 billion, down -17.9%
  6. Peugeot (car/trucker maker): $53.8 billion, down -34.5%
  7. Saint-Gobain (construction materials): $48.7 billion, down -22.7%
  8. Schneider Electric (electrical equipment): $46.3 billion, down -9.3%
  9. Lafarge (construction materials): $42.1 billion, down -17.6%
  10. L’Oreal Group (household, personal care): $36.6 billion, down -15%

Not one of these large French exporters grew their asset values from 2015 to May 2016.

Peugeot endured the greatest shave in asset size, down -34.5%. Construction materials firm Saint-Gobain dipped in asset value by -22.7% followed by iconic fashion brand Christian Dior’s -17.9% decline and construction materials leader Lafarge’s -17.6% drop. The mildest setbacks were a -4.7% slowdown for Renault and -4.9% deterioration for aerospace and defense product maker EADS (Airbus Group SE).


Sales is the life blood of all business, but particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Yet only one of France’s largest export companies increased its year-over-year sales as of May 2016.

  1. Total: US$143.4 billion, down -37.1% from 2015
  2. EADS: $71.5 billion, down -9.2%
  3. Peugeot: $60.6 billion, down -15.6%
  4. Renault: $50.3 billion, down -7.4%
  5. Saint-Gobain: $43.9 billion, down -20.8%
  6. Christian Dior: $41.6 billion, up 8.3%
  7. Sanofi: $40.5 billion, down -7.4%
  8. Schneider Electric: $29.5 billion, down -5.6%
  9. L’Oreal Group: $28 billion, down -8.2%
  10. Lafarge: $17 billion, down -15.6%

Christian Dior recorded an 8.3% increase in sales.

Sales declines ranged from -5.6% for Schneider Electric to -37.1% for petroleum titan Total which was adversely affected by the global meltdown in oil prices.


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

  1. Total: US$5 billion, down -55.1% from 2015
  2. Sanofi: $4.8 billion, down -3.1%
  3. L’Oreal Group: $3.7 billion, down -6.2%
  4. Renault: $3.1 billion, up 291.3%
  5. EADS: $3 billion, up 57.4%
  6. Christian Dior: $1.7 billion, down -5.6%
  7. Schneider Electric: $1.6 billion, down -37.6%
  8. Saint-Gobain: $1.4 billion, up 80%
  9. Peugeot: $1 billion, down -132.2%
  10. Lafarge: $189.7 million, down -76.3%

Three of France’s top 10 major export companies managed to boost their bottom-line profit in the latest May 2016 period. Renault increased its profits by 291.3% from 2015, versus profit gains of 80% for construction materials conglomerate Saint-Gobain and 57.4% for EADS (Airbus Group SE).

Peugeot led in profit shrinkage with a -132.2% decline from the $600 million in profit during 2015, followed by Lafarge’s -76.3% black ink dilution.


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

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


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

For example, EADS (Airbus Group SE) 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, Highest Value French Export Products and Major Export Companies: Alcoholic Beverages

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top French company compiled for this study: Total. Accessed on July 19, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 19, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 19, 2016

Wikipedia, Category: Companies of France. Accessed on July 19, 2016

Wikipedia, List of companies of France. Accessed on July 19, 2016