India’s 10 largest companies by sales and net profit

·Columnist
·4 min read

Which are the largest companies in India? Largest is a subjective term and one could measure it by assets, sales, profits, number of employees, market capitalisation, exports, etc.

Here we will discuss the 10 largest companies in India by sales and profits.

Revenue, often referred to as sales or turnover, is the income received from normal business operations and other business activities. In other words, it is the value of all goods and services provided by a company to its customers during a financial year.

In terms of revenues for financial year 2020-21 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021), Reliance Industries tops the list followed by IOCL and ONGC.

The list includes marquee names such as SBI, HPCL, BPCL, TCS, Tata Steel, HDFC Bank and NTPC.

The top 10 largest companies include five from oil and gas sector, two from banking and financial services sector, and one each from information and technology, power and metals and mining sector.

Six of these companies are public sector units owned by the Government of India, while four are from the private sector.

RIL is a conglomerate with diversified business interests ranging from oil and gas, petrochemicals, telecom (Jio) to retail (Reliance Retail). It is the most valuable company in India, largest in terms of market capitalisation, sales as well as profits.

IOCL, BPCL and HPCL are oil marketing companies which sell fuel at pumps and supply LPG cylinders to our homes. This sector is largely dominated by the public sector.

ONGC is the largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in India. It meets 10% of our oil requirements. India imports more than 80% of its need for oil.

SBI is the largest bank in India by sales. It is owned by GoI and helps fulfil its socio-economic objectives. HDFC Bank is the largest private sector bank in India.

Top 10 Companies by Revenue / Sales / Turnover

Source: Company Filings

TCS, owned by the Tata Group, is the biggest IT company in India, fuelling the service industry revolution in the country. It has been ranked third most-valued IT services brand globally, after Accenture and IBM.

Tata Steel is the world's 12th largest steel producer having presence across the continents. NTPC, owned by GoI, is the country's largest power producer, electricity generation company.

Net profit, often referred to as 'net earnings' or 'net income' is calculated after deducting all operating costs, taxes, interest and depreciation from its total revenues / sales. While sales is called topline, net profit is called bottom line.

Seven names in the top 10 profitable companies are common from the list of top 10 companies by sales. They are RIL, ONGC, IOC, BPCL, TCS, SBI and HDFC Bank. HPCL, Tata Steel, and NTPC are missing from the list. 3 companies which enter the list are Infosys, ICICI Bank and Vedanta.

RIL tops the list of most profitable companies followed by TCS and HDFC Bank.

Infosys is the 2nd largest IT company in India after TCS. It also features in the list of Top 10 IT services brands globally. ICICI Bank is the 2nd largest private sector bank in India. Infosys and ICICI Bank rank 11 and 12 in terms of sales.

Vedanta is a metals and mining conglomerate. It is the world's second largest zinc producer and country’s largest aluminum producer.

Top 10 Companies by Net Profit

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Source: Company Filings

Apart from expenses, net profit is also a function of the industry in which a company operates, its market position, its operational excellence, its brand value, its supplier relationships, its balance sheet strength (which determines its cost of capital), among other things.

Higher sales does not necessarily transform into higher profits. HPCL, Tata Steel, and NTPC which are among the top 10 companies by sales are absent from the list of top 10 companies by net profits.

To set the context, RIL’s sales of Rs 4.6 lakh crore is almost equal to the corporate tax / personal income tax collections of the central government budgeted for the next year. RIL’s net profits of Rs 50,000 crore is equal to the amount budgeted for expenditure on Jal-Jeevan Mission in financial year 2021-22.

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