Oil companies dominated the top tier of Fortune magazine's list of the world's 500 largest corporations, released Monday, with Wal-Mart, Toyota and Volkswagen also cracking the Top 10.

Top 10 Fortune 500 companies

  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Wal-Mart Stores
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Sinopec Group
  • China National Petroleum
  • BP
  • State Grid
  • Toyota Motor
  • Volkswagen
  • Total

For the second year in a row, Royal Dutch Shell earned the top spot on the financial publication's annual ranking of companies according to revenue. Shell had revenues of $481.7 billion US and profits totalling $26.6 billion in 2012.

The Dutch company managed to snag the top spot despite a 14 per cent drop in profits, a 0.6 per cent dip in revenues and setbacks such as the blocking of its proposed drilling project in the Arctic and the shutdown of a pipeline in Nigeria. This was largely thanks to profitable assets such as its Pearl gas-to-liquid plant in Qatar, Fortune said.

Second on the global list was Wal-Mart, which moved up from third position with revenues of $469.2 billion and profits of $17 billion. It saw its sales increase by five per cent and profits rise by 8.3 per cent in 2012.

The global retailer fared even better on Fortune's sister list of the 500 largest U.S. companies, released in May, taking the top spot.

Fortune ranks companies by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ended on or before March 31, 2013.

Volkswagen cracks Top 10 A new addition among the Top 10 was Volkswagen, which pulled itself up from 12th position in 2011 to ninth in 2012. The German automaker increased sales by almost 12 per cent to $247.6 billion and profits rose by more than 30 per cent to $27.9 billion.

Another car company was just ahead of Volkswagen. Toyota Motor was eighth on the list of Fortune 500 companies and in 2012 was the largest car company in the world, snagging that title from GM, which was No. 22 on the global Fortune 500 list.

An impressive presence on both the global and U.S. lists was Exxon Mobil. It was the most profitable company on the Fortune 500 list and posted the second-highest annual profit in U.S. history, at $44.88 billion, a 9.3 per cent jump from 2011. Its revenues dropped slightly by 0.7 per cent to $449.9 billion.

Exxon Mobil, which was third on the global list and second on the U.S. list, holds the record for the highest annual profit for a U.S. company: $45.2 billion in 2008.

Three Chinese entities made the Top 10 tier of the global Fortune 500 list: the two state-owned oil and gas companies Sinopec Group and China National Petroleum and the government-owned power distributor State Grid.

Apple 2nd most profitable

The second-most profitable company on the global Fortune 500 list was Apple, which rocketed from 55th to 19th on the global Fortune 500 list and from 17th to sixth spot on the U.S. list. The tech company's revenues jumped 44.6 per cent to $156.5 billion and profits increased 61 per cent to $41.7 billion in 2012.

Russia's energy behemoth Gazprom saw profits fall 14.3 per cent but was still the third-most profitable company in the world with $38.1 billion in profits.

Overall, revenues for the world's biggest companies increased by three per cent in 2012 while profits fell 5.5 per cent.

In the U.S., it was companies in the finance industry that saw the biggest growth in profit by far. Their profits increased by 33.5 per cent in 2012 while those in the consumer staples sector (which makes products such as food, tobacco and household items) grew by only 3.7 per cent. Utilities companies saw the biggest drop in profits year over year — 30.6 per cent.