Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Obscene Profits" by Major Oil Companies

From the (Subscription required) in October regarding the gigantic profits reported by the oil companies (this from their 3Q results) comes this article discussing the reasons behind these profits, and what the real profit story is about. As Exxon-Mobile reports another record year and quarter—at least in dollars—try to keep in mind their modest profit margins on huge revenue.

An excerpt:

“…in 2004 Exxon Mobil earned more money -- $25.33 billion -- than any other company on the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations. But by another measure of profitability, gross profit margin, it ranked No. 127.”

A $9.9 billion quarterly profit is mostly a function of Exxon Mobil's size. It had sales of $100 billion this quarter, more than any other U.S. company. At its current rate of growth, Exxon Mobil will be the biggest U.S. corporation this year by revenue, bigger than Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which had $288.19 billion in revenue last year. Generally, the bigger the company, the bigger the bottom line.

Even so, many companies smaller than Exxon Mobil "earn" more, depending on what measure is used.

Most financial institutions, such as commercial banks, are routinely more profitable than Exxon Mobil was in its third quarter. For example, Exxon Mobil's gross margin of 9.8 cents of profit for every dollar of revenue pales in comparison to Citigroup Inc.'s 15.7 cents in 2004. By percentage of total revenue, banking is consistently the most profitable industry in America, followed closely by the drug industry.

Altria Group, the maker of Marlboro and other cigarettes, made 22 cents for every dollar of revenue in 2004, and pharmaceutical company Merck made 25.3 cents for every dollar of revenue in 2004.”


No comments: