The iconic Fortune 500 India listing of the country’s biggest companies — now in its 13th edition — is always a barometer of scale. Of size that never fails to amaze.
The top 500 club in 2022 is now worth $1.57 trillion in annual revenue, almost as big as the economies of Canada, Mexico and Spain. It is also equivalent to 81% of India’s ₹147 lakh crore (real) GDP — up from 65% last year and 65% a decade ago. Thanks to a 35% jump in cumulative revenue of the top 500 companies to ₹119 lakh crore. FY22 was also a record for profitability as their combined profit shot up 60% to ₹9.97 lakh crore. Only 49 of the Top 500 reported losses in FY22 as against the Covid-affected FY21 when 68 companies were in the red. The cumulative losses of these companies shrank from ₹1.39 lakh crore to ₹89,505 crore adding to the profitability of the club as a whole. With profits on the rise, 356 of the 500 companies in the list declared dividends totalling another record — ₹3.11 lakh crore. The stupendous performance proves that not only has corporate India contributed integrally to the India growth story but also that it has recovered substantially from the Covid hit.
Despite the Sensex rollercoaster in the fiscal, the combined market cap of 449 listed companies in 2022 stood at a record ₹239 lakh crore as of November 11. That’s a healthy valuation of 101% of India’s nominal GDP, indicating the stock market performance is not out of place despite a healthy run.
Another milestone of scale is the number of billion-dollar companies — 233 this year comprising almost half of the cohort — at a time when rupee-dollar was nearly 76 in March. That’s a jump from a decade ago, despite gradual rupee depreciation. In 2012, when the rupee-dollar rate stood at 51, there were 198 billion-dollar companies in India. It marks the remarkable rise of the fortunes of India Inc.
It’s not just the private firms that have come to the party. A record five government-owned enterprises — LIC, IOC, ONGC, SBI and BPCL — are in the crucial top spots between No.2 and No.6 (there are 9 PSUs in top 25). Government of India was also the biggest beneficiary of the dividends payout, bagging 33% of the ₹3.11 lakh crore dished out during the year.
FY22 also delivered at scale for initial public offerings (IPOs). An all-time high ₹1.11 lakh crore were raised from the primary markets by 52 companies going public. At least 15 of those debuted in the list of Fortune 500 India rankings. The most outstanding being the government-owned LIC which debuted straight at No.2 in FY22 listing.
The special Fortune 500 India package in your hand also features standout performers of the fiscal: How constant evolution at Reliance Industries has kept it at the top of this year’s listing as well, despite all-round challenges; Adani Wilmar’s businesses of scale; LIC’s stunning debut at No.2; and among others, how the all-digital play at Info Edge paid off.
But watch out for FY23 as H1 has already indicated what’s in store next. A combination of disrupted value chains, crude price hike, looming recession in the West and the uncertainties surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war has meant that while topline for the 446 listed companies in the list is up nearly 28%, profit growth is well short of 10%. Celebrate, all right, but with caution!