Vitol overtakes Glencore as biggest company in Switzerland

In 2018 Vitol boasted growth of 26.8% for a total turnover of CHF226 billion Keystone

Commodity trader Vitol has taken the top spot in the ranking of the largest companies in Switzerland by total turnover, relegating Zug-based Glencore to second place.

This content was published on June 27, 2019 - 17:41

According to the rankingExternal link published in the Handelszeitung on Thursday, in 2018 Vitol boasted growth of 26.8% for a total turnover of CHF226 billion ($231 billion) compared to Glencore’s CHF215 billion.

Commodity traders dominated the ranking with seven out of the top ten companies. Twenty years ago, in 1998, just one commodity group made it into the top tier.

Food and beverage giant Nestlé, which last year generated sales of over CHF91 billion, was the top ranked non-commodity trading company coming in sixth. Ten years ago, Nestlé was the second largest company in terms of turnover.

Pharmaceutical giants Roche (CHF57 billion) and Novartis (CHF51 billion) rounded out the top ten.

The biggest jumps in the ranking were made by Google Switzerland (from 123 to 108), conglomerate Conzzeta (from 130 to 111) and biotech company CSL Behring (from 101 to 87).

Positive year

The ranking shows that 2018 was a positive year for the biggest companies in Switzerland. Some six out of seven companies surveyed showed positive growth, many in double digits. Some 179 companies had turnover in the billions – six more than a year ago.

Despite the growing presence of commodity traders in the top tier of the Swiss economy, their employment impact is much more modest. Vitol has only 5,400 employees globally, compared to 300,000 at Nestlé.

The list, produced by Bisnode D&B Switzerland and Handelszeitung, has been published annually since 1968.

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