The LT 500


When folks look back at 2008 in Latin America, many may say it was the year that big corporations got bigger and energy dominated the business landscape of the region.

On the following downloadable tables we present the LT500: the 500 largest Latin America companies, including both privately held and publicly traded companies, as well as the largest state-run companies. This year, Latin Trade has divided the list in two, with companies that are publicly traded on stock exchanges, and those that are not. Ranked by net sales, the data and comparisons represent 12 months of financial reports and because of the difficulties in securing accurate and timely data about them, comparative data for privately held companies is not presented.

Latin America’s biggest publicly traded companies, in aggregate, saw net sales jump 1 percent and net income rise 202 percent in 2008 compared to the 12 months prior, according to the most recent data gathered from company reports or provided to us by the financial database firm Economatica.
Driven largely by overwhelming worldwide demand and the consequent spike in oil prices, Latin America’s oil producers reaped in billions last year. Colombia’s Ecopetrol saw a 52 percent gain while Argentina’s YPF Repsol booked a more modest 9.5 percent gain in net sales for the period. Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA was by far the largest company in the region, with $96 billion in net sales for the period. Petrobras, Brazil’s enormous oil concern, followed closely in size with $92 billion — it posted a net sales loss of 4.4 percent while its net income grew 14 percent.

Indeed, Brazil, the region’s largest economy, lords over the LT500 with some of the largest companies on the list headquartered there. Financial services companies Banco do Brasil (14 percent), Bradesco (27 percent) and Itaú Unibanco (15 percent) all recorded net sales gains for the period.
Some of the biggest net sales gains were experienced by electricity concerns Pampa Energía (148 percent), in Argentina, and Brazil’s Equatorial (102 percent), while Panamanian construction company the Willbros Group experienced a 102 percent jump in net sales.

On the other side of the spectrum, textile, paper and some metals companies crowded the bottom of the list. Springs, a Brazilian textile company recorded a 39 percent loss compared to the prior period, while the country’s paper and pulp giant Aracruz Celulose experienced a 27 percent loss.

To look through the LT 500 list, please click here or on the image below to download a PDF of the tables.


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