Netherlands top 10 major export-oriented firms include two telecoms, two semiconductors producers and two competitors in the international trade of diversified chemicals.
To give some contextual perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Dutch exports gained 26.5% from US$571.3 billion in 2014 to $722.7 billion during 2018. Year over year, exported goods from the Netherlands improved in value by 42.8% from 2017 to 2018.
In the analysis below, we compare 10 of the top export-oriented Dutch companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of December 2018. Also presented is the Dutch city where each business has its headquarters.
Netherlands Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are biggest export-related Dutch 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 May 2017.
- Royal Dutch Shell (oil, gas): US$410.7 billion (down -0.1% from 2017)
- Unilever (food processing): $72.4 billion (up 21.6%)
- Heineken Holding (beverages): $51.2 billion (up 21.8%)
- Philips (industrial conglomerate): $30.4 billion (down -10.8%)
- NXP Semiconductors (semiconductors): $24.1 billion (down -3.2%)
- ASML Holding (semiconductors): $22.9 billion (up 16%)
- Akzo Nobel (diversified chemicals): $20.4 billion (up 16.9%)
- VEON (telecommunications services): $19.5 billion (down -7.3%)
- DSM (diversified chemicals): $16.3 billion (up 17.7%)
- KPN (telecommunications services): $16.2 billion (up 4.2%)
Six of these massive Dutch corporations grew their assets as of December 2018, led by a 21.8% gain for beverages behemoth Heineken, a 21.6% increase for Unilever and a 17.7% asset improvement for international chemicals supplier DSM.
Among the four remaining top companies, asset deteriorations were -10.8% for Royal Dutch Shell, -7.3% for VEON, -3.2% for NXP Semiconductors, down to a modest -0.1% setback for Royal Dutch Shell.
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, particularly for firms that compete in the international trade arena. Annual sales at December 2018 compared to statistics as of May 2017 rose for six top Dutch businesses.
- Royal Dutch Shell: US$321.8 billion (up 37.1% from 2017)
- Unilever: $60.6 billion (up 3.9%)
- Heineken Holding: $24.7 billion (up 7.4%)
- Philips: $20.7 billion (down -23.7%)
- Akzo Nobel: $13.9 billion (down -11.5%)
- ASML Holding: $11 billion (up 46.3%)
- DSM: $10.4 billion (up 18.7%)
- VEON: $9.8 billion (up 10.6%)
- NXP Semiconductors: $9.3 billion (down -2.1%)
- KPN: $7.3 billion (down -2.9%)
Double-digit gains were up 46.3% year over year for ASML Holding, up 37.1 for Royal Dutch Shell, up 18.7% for chemicals supplier DSM and up 10.6% for telecom provider VEON.
Sales declines ranged from -2.1% for NXP Semiconductors accelerating to -23.7% for industrial conglomerate Philips.
Revamped telecom VEON went from a $2.5 billion profit as of May 2017 to -$498 million in red ink at December 2018. Nine other large Dutch firms managed to grow their profits.
- Royal Dutch Shell: US$15.2 billion (up 226.9% from 2017)
- Unilever: $6.8 billion (up 18.7%)
- ASML Holding: $2.7 billion (up 57%)
- DSM: $2.3 billion (up 220.4%)
- Philips: $1.8 billion (up 12.5%)
- Heineken Holding: $1.1 billion (down -35.3%)
- Akzo Nobel: $988 million (down -7.7%)
- NXP Semiconductors: $968 million (up 384%)
- KPN: $545 million (up 36.5%)
- VEON: -$498 million (loss down -119.8%)
Three top Dutch businesses posted triple-digit profit increases year over year: 384% for NXP Semiconductors, 226.9% for Royal Dutch Shell and 220.4% for chemicals supplier DSM.
Four of the top export-related companies have their headquarters in Amsterdam, national capital and the largest city in the Netherlands.
- Akzo Nobel: Amsterdam
- ASML Holding: Veldhoven
- DSM: Heerlen
- Heineken Holding: Amsterdam
- KPN: The Hague
- NXP Semiconductors: Eindhoven
- Philips: Amsterdam
- Royal Dutch Shell: The Hague
- Unilever: Rotterdam
- VEON: Amsterdam
Located on Holland’s western coast, The Hague serves as home to two other top firms and is also the seat of the Dutch government, parliament, the Supreme Court and the Council of State.
Note: Some of the above company offerings may include products or other than the principal category highlighted within brackets under the Assets tab.
For example, Unilever produces and markets much more than food items. Rather, the scope of Unilever operations encompasses four segments: foods, refreshments, home care and personal care. The latter category includes deodorants as well as skin, hair and oral care products.
See also Netherlands’s Top 10 Exports, Netherlands Top 10 Imports and Netherlands Top Trade Partners
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Dutch company compiled for this study: Royal Dutch Shell. Accessed on October 2, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings for the Netherlands, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 2, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 2, 2019
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on October 2, 2019
Wikipedia, List of companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on October 2, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Amsterdam, Netherlands. Accessed on October 2, 2019