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Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has replaced Apple as the world's most valuable listed c

Dana 2016-02-24 08:25:23

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has replaced Apple as the world's most valuable listed company after the company's first set of results under its new structure beat expectations.

The company's shares rose around 6.5pc in after-hours trading on Monday night to give Alphabet a market capitalisation of around $550bn, compared to Apple's $538bn.

If it sustains the rise into trading on Tuesday, it will be the first time that Google has taken the crown of the world's biggest company, dethroning Apple which has held the title for around three years. Apple shares fell last week after the company predicted that it would record its first revenue fall in 13 years.

On Monday, Facebook also surpassed oil giant ExxonMobil's market capitalisation. Including Microsoft, the world's four biggest companies are now all technology groups.

Alphabet reported a 5.3pc increase in fourth-quarter profits to $4.9bn on Monday night and an 18pc increase in revenue to $21.3bn, as Google's web advertising business continued to go from strength to strength.

The results were also notable as the first in which the revenues of the core Google business, made up of the company's internet operation including its search engine, YouTube, and the Android operating system among others, were disclosed separately from its "other bets" - ambitious businesses such as its experimental unit X, driverless cars, and health operation Calico.

Last year, Google announced that it would restructure itself into several different companies under the Alphabet umbrella, a move designed to give investors more transparency and allow the chiefs of each division more freedom.

However, Monday's results show that while Google has high hopes for some of its so-called "moonshot" businesses, they are at present contributing little to the company's sales, and its internet advertising revenues will continue to determine the health of the company for some time.

For the whole of 2015, Google Inc - the core internet business - had revenues of $74.5bn, dwarfing the $448m of its "Other Bets" - all the other companies. Google Inc also made a $23.4bn operating profit, against a $3.6bn operating loss for the other bets.

Ruth Porat, Google's chief financial officer, said growth had been driven by advertising on smartphones and YouTube, and its chief executive Sundar Pichai said mobile advertising revenues had surpassed those from desktop computers on several days last year.

He added that Gmail, Google's email service, now had one billion users.

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