20 most profitable companies

From oil to iPads, here are the 20 companies that pulled in the most massive sums.

Exxon Mobil
Exxon Mobil
Fortune 500 rank: 1
2011 profit: $41.6 billion

It looks as if Exxon Mobil has it all. It's not only No. 1 on this year's Fortune 500 list, it has also topped our list of most profitable companies. With a total profit of $41 billion for 2011, Exxon surpassed all of its Big Oil competitors, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

The company repurchased 278 million shares of its common stock at a gross of $22.1 billion. It also struck a deal with oil giant Rosneft to explore for oil in Russian-controlled portions of the Arctic Ocean and Black Sea.

By Caitlin Keating, reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 07 2012: 10:59 AM ET
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