Old Mutual makes Fortune 500

14 July 2005

Financial services group Old Mutual has joined Anglo American and BHP Billiton as South African-based companies which have made it into the top 300 global firms on the prestigious Fortune 500 list, Business Day reports.

The Fortune Global 500, to be released by Fortune magazine later in July, puts Old Mutual at position 278, up from 304 the previous year.

Fortune measures companies by their revenue rather than market capitalisation, the newspaper reports. Old Mutual’s revenue grew by 22% to US$20.9-billion in 2004. The average revenue growth for the top 500 companies was 13%.

Despite a few slow years after it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1998, Business Day reports, Old Mutual’s growth has taken off in the past couple of years largely because of a turnaround in fortunes at its US asset management and insurance business.

“We have performed well in all our key geographical areas and we look forward to more of the same in the years to come,” Old Mutual CEO Jim Sutcliffe told Business Day.

Last year, Old Mutual’s US life business increased its contribution to about half of total new life business at the group. Nearly three-quarters of its asset management clients are now in the US and UK.

The inclusion of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Old Mutual on the list shows that multinational South African companies have used their global presence to boost revenue, according to the newspaper.

Anglo American moved up from 275 to 213 on Fortune’s list, while BHP Billiton increased revenue 47% in 2004 to move up 100 places to 241, Business Day reports. Mittal Steel enters the Global 500 for the first time at 253, thanks to record steel prices. Surprisingly, brewing giant SABMiller is not included on the list of the 500 biggest companies.

SouthAfrica.info reporter