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Unlike many other areas, Europe doesn’t have any stock exchanges that cover the entire region. Instead, European companies can be traded on several regional exchanges: the London Stock Exchange, Euronext, and the Six Swiss Exchange, among others. This can sometimes make it difficult to compare businesses from different locations. We’ve provided an overview for a few of Europe’s top stocks by market cap to give some background on the largest public companies in the region.
Here are some of the largest European companies with some of the highest market capitalization.
Company Ownership: Volkswagen is owned by retail investors and institutional investors. As of December 2020, about 25.9% of the company’s share holdings are owned by foreign institutional investors and about 3.4% of the shares are owned by German institutional investors. The motor company has about 5.01 billion shares outstanding.
Volkswagen ( VOW.DE) is a major German motor vehicles manufacturer founded in 1937. Volkswagen is a publicly-traded company owned half by Porsche SE. The German automotive company manufactures and distributes passenger, commercial, motorcycle and engine vehicles, as well as related financing, leasing and fleet management services. Other major automotive companies SEAT, Audi, and Bugatti are sold by the Volkswagen Group. The company is segmented into two main categories; the Automotive Division and the Financial Services Division. The company also has two major joint ventures in China and operates in roughly 150 countries. Moreover, in 2016, Volkswagen was the world’s biggest automaker and in 2020 it ranked as the 7th largest company in the world.
BP p.l.c. (BP-L) is considered the world’s 148th most valuable company by market capitalization and the 6th largest oil company worldwide in revenue. This energy company is a part of the global energy business and operates throughout the world. The company offers customers fuel for transport, energy for heat and light, power for industry, and several petrochemicals products used in the processes that make everyday items such as paints, clothes, and packaging. Some of BP’s segments include Upstream and Downstream as well as Other businesses and corporate. Activities in oil and natural gas exploration, field development, and production are carried out by the Upstream segment. The Downstream segment includes global marketing and manufacturing operations and the fuels, lubricants, and petrochemicals business of the Company. Additionally, the company also held 19.75% of Rosneft since 2013. Rosneft, the Russian integrated energy company was the Company's Russian refining business with approximately 13 refineries in Russia, before BP decided to join the sanctions on Russia and exited Rosneft shareholding in February, 2022.
Glencore (GLEN-L) is a multinational commodity and mining company which was formed in 1994 and is considered one of the largest producers and marketers of commodities. The company produces supplied metal, minerals, crude oil, natural gas, agricultural products, and coal and provides its services to various sectors ranging from food processing to power generation. In 2015, Glencore entered the Fortune Global 500’s list for one of the world’s largest companies.
ING Groep N.V. (INGA.AS) is a financial institution that provides banking services. The Company's segments include Retail Netherlands, Retail Belgium, Retail Germany and Retail Other. Each division is mainly responsible for savings accounts, business lending, mortgages and other consumer lending services in the designated areas. The Company's Retail Banking business lines provide products and services to individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-corporates. Additionally, the Wholesale Banking segment offers wholesale banking services (a full range of products from cash management to corporate finance), real estate and leasing. In Australia, the company’s banking operations are provided by ING Bank (Australia) Limited (trading as ING Direct) and ING Bank NV Sydney Branch.
Nestle S.A. (NESN.VX) offers products in the nutrition, health and wellness spheres. The company's segments include Zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA); Zone Americas (AMS); Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa (AOA); Nestle Waters; Nestle Nutrition, and Other Businesses. The company operates internationally in approximately 190 countries worldwide and has product categories that include both powered and liquid beverages; water; milk products and ice cream; nutrition and health science; prepared dishes and cooking aids; confectionery, and PetCare. Other business activities in which the company participates include the operations of Nestle Professional, Nespresso, Nestle Health Science and Nestle Skin Health.
Nestle is number 21 on the list of the world’s most valuable companies by market capitalization.
HSBC Holdings plc (HSBA-L) is a banking and financial services company that manages products and services through three segments: Wealth and Personal Banking (WPB), Commercial Banking (CMB), and Global Banking and Markets (GBM). It operates in various regions of the world, including Europe, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, North America, and Latin America. The WPB segment provides Retail Banking, Wealth Management, Asset Management and Insurance. CMB serves the banking needs of commercial customers, including small and medium-sized enterprises, mid-market enterprises and corporations. Some of its products include credit and lending, international trade and receivables finance, treasury management and liquidity solutions, commercial insurance and investments. GBM works with many government, corporate and institutional clients, and private investors across the world.
Founded in 1879, Linde plc (LIN) operates as an industrial gas and engineering company with facilities located around the world. It offers a variety of gas products and services to several end markets, including chemicals & refining, food & beverage, electronics, healthcare, manufacturing and primary metals. The engineering division specializes in separating and purifying gases, liquefying gases, thermal processes, and plant components and turbo machinery.
European stocks reflect the wide variety of businesses and industries that operate throughout the region. This list includes just a few of the large corporations by market capitalisation that can help you become more familiar with stock of companies from various areas.