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Apple becomes world’s most profitable company

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
The logo of Apple is illuminated at a store in the city center in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Apple’s delayed launch of its latest iPhones unleashed a holiday buying frenzy that propelled sales of the trendsetting company’s most popular product to its fastest start in years. The apparently pent-up demand for four different iPhone 12 models highlighted Apple’s latest quarterly report Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Apple has become the world's most profitable company. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Apple has become the world’s most profitable company with a reported net income of US$59 billion, after the COVID-19 economic downturn pushed Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest exporter, from its perch.

Apple maintained its high margins over 2020 as consumers stuck in lockdown bought up iPhones, Macs and iPads, leading it to eclipse revenue expectations over the December 2020 quarter.

The tech behemoth’s sales were up 17 per cent year-on-year to US$65.6 billion over the Christmas quarter.

Saudi Aramco’s rough ride

The petroleum giant saw its net income slide 44 per cent over 2020, down to US$49 billion after oil price plunged.

Demand for oil fell off a cliff in 2020 as the pandemic saw international and much of domestic travel indefinitely paused.

Oil prices briefly went sub-zero for the first time in history in April last year as suppliers essentially paid for others to store oil.

“In one of the most challenging years in recent history, Aramco demonstrated its unique value proposition through its considerable financial and operational agility,” Aramco president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said.

“Our exceptional performance during such testing times owed much to the unwavering spirit and resilience of our employees, who set operational records and continued to meet the world’s energy needs both safely and reliably.”

However, with oil prices poised for a strong rebound, Saudi Aramco could soon reclaim the title.

Figures from the International Energy Agency show that the world’s oil demand could surpass pre-COVID levels by 2023 as developing economies across Asia require more.

“Looking ahead, our long-term strategy to optimize our oil and gas portfolio is on track and, as the macro environment improves, we are seeing a pick-up in demand in Asia and also positive signs elsewhere,” Nasser said.

“We remain confident that we will emerge on the other side of this pandemic in a position of strength.”

Apple charger fine just 0.00007 per cent of 2020 revenue

Apple was recently fined US$1.92 million by Brazilian authorities for failing to include phone chargers with its iPhone 12 sales.

The decision to sell the charger separately was deemed a violation of the consumer defense code, leading São Paulo authorities to fine the company.However, that fine will barely dent Apple’s finances, costing it just 0.00007 per cent of its 2020 revenue

Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance