The table below shows industry rankings for net profit margin (profits / sales) of the top 114 industries out of 215 total industries during the most recent quarter, from Yahoo!Finance. The top five oil companies (Chevron, Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and BP) are part of the "Major Integrated Oil and Gas" industry, and the CEOs of the "Big Five" are appearing today before the Senate Committee on Finance, to get grilled about the "taxpayer subsidies" and "tax breaks" they receive, explain why they deserve to earn record "windfall" profits, and explain the role they play in higher oil and gas prices. As the table below shows, the Integrated Oil and Gas industry made an average profit of 6.2 cents per dollar of sales, which ranks #114 out of 215 industries by profit margin, and puts oil companies right in the middle of industries by profitability. If the Senate Finance Committee wants to investigate "excessive" or "windfall" profits, they might consider going after some of the other industries that have benefited from higher commodity prices and achieved much higher profit margins than oil (at 6.2%), like silver (44.7%), copper (24%), gold (21%), and industrial metals (21%) and lumber (17.7%).
updated May 12, 2011
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