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Shell now ranks third on annual Fortune 500 global list

Raised a notch since last year

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Dutch-British energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has gained one spot on the annual list of the 500 largest companies worldwide, compiled by U.S. magazine Fortune. Shell now ranks third with estimated revenues of $306.7 billion.

The Fortune 500 top two positions also changed from their 2005 rankings. Leading the pack is Shellís competitor Exxon Mobil - $339.9 billion in sales - which surpassed retail giant Wal-Mart ($315.6 billion) that had held the top position for four years in a row. British Petroleum and automobile manufacturer GM fill out the top-5.

Also ranked higher since last year is Dutch bank and insurance conglomerate ING, now in 14th position, up three spots. Dutch-Belgian colleague Fortis jumped twelve positions and ranks 18th on the 2006 Fortune list.

Eleven other Dutch companies have made the Fortune 500 list. Banking group ABN AMRO ranks 82nd, one position higher than retail group Royal Ahold. Electronics giant Royal Philips takes up 145th position, four steps higher than financial group Aegon. Rabobank, another Dutch banking group with extensive holdings in the U.S., takes 183rd place. Just below the top-200 is Corus competitor Mittal (208), a Netherlands-registered global steel manufacturer, owned by the British-Indian Mittal family. Retail and energy group SHV Holdings ranks 341st, and Dutch gas monopoly Gasunie 353rd.

The other three Dutch companies listed on the Fortune 500 list are mail and logistics provider TNT (at 387th spot), chemicals and healthcare manufacturer Akzo Nobel (418) and telecom provider KPN (457).

Belgiumís financial group Dexia ranks 55th as that countryís largest company. It was listed in 291st place last year and was founded as bank for municipalities in 1860.