The 10 American Companies That Pull in The Most Cash
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A Quick Note
Instead of net income, this list measures the 10 American companies with the most free cash flow.
This is a measure of cash from continuing operations, minus capital expenditures.
This offers a fuller picture for how much money a company is able to keep in its coffers every year.
Financial companies (banks) were not included in the list.
IBM (NYSE: IBM)
2014 FCF=$13.13 billion
$416 of FCF per second
By shifting focus years ago from making computers to offering business solutions—like mainframes, data analysis and security—IBM has been able to prosper.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ)
2014 FCF=$13.44 billion
$426 of FCF per second
After acquiring the other half of Verizon Wireless last year, the company has both the nation’s largest 4G LTE network, and a booming Internet Service Provider business.
GE (NYSE: GE)
2014 FCF=$13.98 billion
$443 of FCF per second
With the announcement that the company will be spinning out GE Capital, GE may not make this list next year. That being said, investors are happy that GE will once again be focusing on its manufacturing and innovation roots.
Oracle (NYSE: ORCL)
2014 FCF=$14.34 billion
$455 of FCF per second
While Oracle pulled in much less cash from operations than many others on this list, it also had the lowest capital expenditures: $580 million. Many will be watching to see if the company can continue to prosper in the post-Larry-Ellison era.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
2014 FCF=$14.76 billion
$468 of FCF per second
This medical conglomerate focuses on everyday medical care, major medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. The company got a strong boost from its pharmaceutical division last year, primarily from sales of Olysio, Simponi, Stelara, and Zytiga.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)
2014 FCF=$15.68 billion
$497 of FCF per second
This Big Pharma giant had several big hits last year, including Lyrica, Prevnar, Enbrel, Celebrex, and Lipitor—all which brought in over $2 billion in revenue apiece.
2014 FCF=$16.39 billion
$520 of FCF per second
Though the company has been suffering from slowing sales and a major image problem for some time now, Wal-Mart is still able to churn out cash. One interesting fact many don’t know: groceries make up more than half of all of Wal-Mart’s revenue.
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A)
2014 FCF=$16.83 billion
$534 of FCF per second
Warren Buffett’s conglomerate of businesses had another solid year in 2014. Investors worried about Buffett’s eventual departure should be comforted by the fact that these businesses all produce steady cash flows and are relatively stable.
2014 FCF=$26.75 billion
$848 of FCF per second
While the company’s Office Suite is a mainstay cash machine, Microsoft benefitted in 2014 from its expanded presence in cloud computing.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)
2014 FCF=$50.14 billion
$1,590 of FCF per second
Apple absolutely blew the competition away in 2014—as it has for some time. The company sold a whopping 75 million iPhones during the holiday quarter alone, helping it to pull in over $50 billion in free cash flow in just one year.
The dominance of Apple
It’s astounding how much more cash Apple brings in than all of the others on this list. If consumers love the Apple Watch as much as the iPhone, the cash will continue to roll.
But Apple itself may not be the biggest winner from the trend. Who could be?