Global 500: The top 25

Wal-Mart retakes the lead on Fortune's annual list of the world's biggest companies. See which other outfits top our list.

AXA
15. AXA
Global 500 rank: 15 (Previous rank: 15)
2006 Revenues (millions): $139,738
Headquarters: Paris
Country: France
Get quote: AXA

Thanks to a year of good weather and untroubled markets, the global French insurance giant posted record profits of $6.4 billion, up 23% from last year. While most of its business (ranging from life to car insurance) is in the U.S. and France, the company been expanding into new markets. AXA acquired Credit Suisse's insurance business for $10 billion in 2006, boosting its presence in Eastern Europe and Asia. It also entered the Indian market for the first time last year through a joint insurance venture with local conglomerate Bharti Enterprises.

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