Top 7 World’s Most Admired Companies in 2011

This is an already famous list from Fortune magazine. For the 50 most admired companies overall, Fortune’s survey asked businesspeople to vote for the companies that they admired most, from any industry. For 2011, the Most Admired Companies are:

1. Apple

Rank in Computers: 1 (previous rank: 1)

Overall score: 8.16

Why it’s admired:

For the fourth straight year, Apple tops Fortune’s Most Admired list. The company’s blistering pace of new product releases has continued to set the bar high for tech companies across the board.

Apple took a stock hit when iconic CEO Steve Jobs announced in January that he’d be taking a second medical leave, two years after receiving a liver transplant during a six-month sabbatical. But Jobs assured the market in the company’s recent earnings report that Apple was still “firing on all cylinders.”

It certainly appears to be. Apple nearly doubled its quarterly profits vs. a year ago. The iPad 2 was introduced in March, marking the second generation of one of Apple’s milestone product successes. And Jobs made a surprise appearance at the launch.

Another huge move by Apple was the announcement this January that the iPhone 4 would be available from Verizon, offering another option to consumers frustrated with dropped calls on AT&T.

2. Google

Rank in Internet Services and Retailing: 1 (previous rank: 1)

Overall score: 8.22

Why it’s admired:

Google, in second place after Apple, maintains its reign as the king of search. The company is also spreading through its deep dive into devices with its free, open-source operating systems.

Google says that it activates devices loaded with its Android operating system at a rate of over 10 million every month – a number that continues to explode. Outside of devices, the company has seen growth in YouTube, display advertising and even paid enterprise applications.

The other big change for the company comes in the executive suite. CEO Eric Schmidt, who has led the company’s rapid ascent since 2001, will leave the position in April, allowing Google co-founder Larry Page to retake the position he once held in the company’s early days. Back when it was all about search.

3. Berkshire Hathaway

Rank in Insurance (Property and Casualty): 1 (previous rank: 1)

Overall score: 6.88

Why it’s admired:

Berkshire Hathaway maintains its third-place spot this year. CEO Warren Buffett (who recently made our Top 7 Richest People in the World in 2011 list), remains an admired champ, both for his judgments about stocks and for having built a huge operating company besides.

One recent stock-market judgment: Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in Johnson & Johnson in 2010, from about 28 million shares to around 45 million, despite J&J’s neverending product recalls during the year. In buying, Buffett followed his usual practice of picking up stocks when they’re out-of-favor, betting on them to rise when trouble recedes.

Berkshire’s most dramatic investment in 2010 was its $26 billion purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The railroad went on to generate more than $1 billion of operating earnings per quarter for Berkshire, making it a large factor in the company’s 2010 increase of 13% in book value.

In Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire investors, he emphasized that American business, despite the economic uncertainties that persist, will continue to thrive. Berkshire, Buffett said, is backing that opinion with cash. “In 2011,” he wrote, “we will set a new record for capital spending – $8 billion – and spend all of the $2 billion increase in the United States.”

4. Southwest Airlines

Rank in Airlines: 3 (previous rank: 4)

Overall score: 6.17

Why it’s admired:

Since it started offering low-cost flights in the 1970s, Southwest Airlines has been a more consistent performer than most airline companies. Recently, airlines in general have been receiving bad press for tacking on fees to compensate for rising fuel prices, but Southwest has remained one of the world’s most admired. Southwest generated strong earnings in its most recent quarter, with profits up 13% from a year earlier. The acquisition of AirTran will give the company more planes and should allow Southwest access to more markets. Southwest is also the third largest airline in the world.

5. Procter & Gamble

Rank in Soaps and Cosmetics: 1 (previous rank: 1)

Overall score: 7.43

Why it’s admired:

Procter & Gamble has incredible reach. It’s the world’s largest consumer-products company, with annual sales around $79 billion.

P&G has a long history of earning the respect of its peers – fifth on the overall list this year, it’s been ranked first in its industry every year it’s been in the survey since 1997.

With commodity prices rising, P&G says it will have to raise prices on some products. But P&G’s products, including Tide, Crest and many other household staples, form a strong foundation to weather volatile prices down the supply chain.

6. Coca Cola

Rank in Beverages: 1 (previous rank: 1)

Overall score: 5.93

Why it’s admired:

When it comes to Coke, consumers still have a sweet tooth. The beverage beast has continued to expand across China, and has earned positive attention for its environmental efforts by conserving water.

CEO Muhtar Kent said in its latest earnings report that Coke “met or exceeded all of our long-term growth targets for both the quarter and the year.”

Coca-Cola also continues to stand as one of the world’s great brands, in a league with corporate giants like Nike and GE.

7. Amazon

Rank in Internet Services and Retailing: 2 (previous rank: 2)

Overall score: 7.95

Why it’s admired:

In December, Amazon announced that the 3G Kindle was its best-selling item ever. The tablet continues to dominate the e-reader market, despite initial fears that Apple’s iPad would be a problem. Now, it seems many people are buying both, to serve different purposes.

In February, CEO Jeff Bezos directly targeted Netflix by offering streaming video to Amazon Prime members. It’s all part an effort to strengthen the allure of this one-stop shop that is already top dog among online retailers.

Meanwhile, Amazon has invested in new technology and continues to see growth. Soon, Amazon.com will begin operating an app store for Android.

Source: Fortune

2 comments

  1. This is great information for writers. Thanks.

  2. Nice web log, would of created the web log bit longer, loved reading it though.

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