According to The Global 2000 compiled by Forbes using sales, profits, assets and market value, the world’s largest businesses are located in 60 countries and generate $37 trillion in revenue.
Greece has twelve companies in the Top 2000.
|364||National Bank of Greece||Banking|
|382||EFG Eurobank Ergasias||Banking|
|498||Alpha Bank Group||Banking|
|656||Hellenic Telecom (OTE)||Telecommunications|
|705||Coca-Cola (Hellenic Bottling Co.)||Food, Drink & Tobacco|
|1004||OPAP||Hotel & Leisure (Gambling)|
|1030||Public Power Company (DEH)||Utilities|
|1070||Hellenic Petroleum||Oil & Gas Operations|
|1506||Bank of Greece||Banking|
|1974||Greek Postal Savings||Banking|
The top 12 companies in Greece comprise seven banks, a phone company, electricity provider, oil refinery company, lottery operator and a Greek-owned American subsidiary. Note that it is not an American company in Greece, as explained in “Best places to work in Greece 2009.”
It is not surprising to see banks rank amongst the largest and most profitable, since the European Commission found that banks in Greece charge consumers up to 10 times more than other EU member states for the same services.
The national telecommunications provider (OTE) was a monopoly until 1998 and slowly privatized, though it has been fined heavily (33 million euros) for not opening up the market immediately, the government still owns approximately 30 percent and Deutsche Telekom owns 20 percent; this will change now that Deutche Telekom was given the green light by the EU to buy a control of OTE.
DEH and OPAP are still monopolies. Hellenic Petroleum is the largest and one of only two oil refinery companies, in which the Greek government holds a majority and the Latsis family (the richest Greeks in the world, residing in Switzerland) retains a controlling share.
Coca-Cola (American) is the only well-known multinational in Greece breaking the Global 2000, although the second largest bottler of Coca-Cola in the world has cut its growth outlook for 2008.
The presence of monopolies creates an inhospitable environment of price gouging, cartels and other unfair business practices that result from little or no competition. It is not a free marketplace, which means consumers are powerless.
Further, the absence of retailers among a country’s largest companies is confirmation of OECD findings that there is little innovation, and this results in limited economic growth, fewer jobs and the inability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals.
Top 2000 companies in the world
Rankings taken from Forbes’ Global 2000 and population stats sourced from the World Bank are presented in table form, an option not otherwise available for the convenience of readers. Countries were selected based on this site’s audience or included as evidence that smaller nations are competitive on a world scale.
|Country||Population||# of Companies||Highest rank|
|United Arab Emirates||4,364,746||2||726|
*Greece did not update its population stats with the World Bank for 2008, so official figures still reflect 2007.