PetroChina, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Mobile are among the 10 most profitable companies in the world, Beijing Morning News reported Friday, citing their annual financial reports.
Net profits of these top 10 companies each exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14.6 billion) in 2008. Five of them are oil companies, with ExxonMobil coming first, followed by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.
The news came after the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, announced Tuesday that the benchmark retail prices of gasoline would rise by 290 yuan ($42.46) per ton and diesel by 180 yuan per ton. The price hike provoked a backlash among experts and netizens who complained that Chinese oil prices were much too higher than international peers.
However, oil companies are not as profitable as they were prior to the financial crisis.
The net profit of PetroChina, China's largest listed oil producer by output, fell 22 percent to 114.43 billion yuan, down from 146.75 billion yuan in 2007, said its annual financial reports. Revenue rose 28% to 1.07 trillion yuan from 836.35 billion yuan. The oil giant posted earnings per share of 0.62 yuan, down 30.8 percent from the previous year.
Despite a drop in profit, PetroChina was bolstered by a recent increase in oil prices, which is expected to bring about an extra 1.26 billion yuan in monthly revenue.
Profit after tax for ICBC was 111.2 billion yuan, 35.2 percent higher than that of 2007. Earnings per share were 0.33 yuan, according to its annual financial reports. ICBC said it maintained high growth for six consecutive years and is now the most profitable bank in the world.
China Mobile Limited, China's biggest mobile phone operator, remained profitable in 2008, partly due to changes in China's enterprise income taxes. Profit was 112.8 billion yuan, up 29.6 percent year-on-year. Earnings per share reached 5.63 yuan, up 29.4 percent year-on-year.