The world’s most powerful company you have never heard of.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you Vitol. This is the most unusual of the world’s largest companies. Although there are 8 companies in the world that are bigger than this [List of largest companies by revenue] those 8 are either well known companies or government organizations.
Vitol is not a conglomerate. Unlike Aramco or Sinopoec this is not some government organization masquerading as a company. It is not a popular brand. It doesn’t employ a lot of people [hardly 5000 employees]. It makes nearly as much as Samsung does from 2 dozen businesses while it employs 1/100 people of Samsung does. It is not traded in the stock markets. It is not a company that any consumer has heard of.
But, this under the cover company makes more revenues than Apple, Toyota, Microsoft, JP Morgan and the brands you know. $270 billion dollars in annual revenues. . It is fairly secretive even though they are the largest independent energy trader in the world.
They have over 17 million cubic meters of storage where they store fuels — coal, natural gas, oil etc and trade. Through this hoarding they control a lot of world market prices, besides enabling direct trading of many kinds. They even enable the ISIS to sell oil to the United States. How ISIS Oil Ended Up On US Streets — Companies like them enable despots and dictators to convert their resources to cash [Swiss firm Vitol pleads guilty in UN oil/food case]. In a way they are far more influential on geopolitics than Apple or Samsung.
If you want to research on this secretive world, you need to enter Geneva where you can find Vitol’s cousins — Trafigura, Gunvor, Glencore, Mercuria etc. I always imagine these folks be like this: