Miami, U.S.A. — The largest 500 Latin American companies increased their revenues by 8.3 percent in 2011, the digital news service Latin Business Chronicle reports on its annual regional ranking. At the same time, profits for these companies tumbled 8.9 percent.

The reason behind these results? The positive figures were induced by sustained domestic demand growth, the publication states. The lackluster profit figures seem to be the result of the first landing of the developed world crisis in Latin shores, in this case, through lower commodity prices. This performance is also in line with the softening of regional economic growth which reached 4.5 percent in 2011, down from 6.2 in 2010.

The year was determined by the performance of companies in the energy industry. Ten out of the 20 largest by revenue were in the energy and most of them in the hydrocarbons industry. In fact the top three in the region were, by a wide lead, Petrobras, PDVSA and Pemex. Petrobras posted $130 billion revenues, PDVSA, a debutant in this ranking, $125 billion, and state-run Pemex $112 billion.

There are three retailers on the list of the 20 largest firms by revenues – Wal-Mart Mexico, Brazilian CBD and French Carrefour; two telecoms, Mexican America Movil and Spanish Telefonica; and an automobile manufacturer, German VW. The rest are Brazilians: miner Vale, steelmaker Gerdau, food company JBS, chemical Braskem and holding company Odebrecht.

Four companies rose to stardom in revenue growth in 2011. They more than doubled their sales income. Colombian gasoline retailer Biomax increased its revenue by 239 percent — US-based UAL, 193 percent; Brazilian retail Viavarejo, 117 percent; and Canadian-Colombian oil Exploration and Production Pacific Rubiales, 104 percent.

As far as profits, Brazilian companies were regional leaders, the Latin Business Chronicle report said.  Vale, Petrobras and AmBev were ranked among the 10 largest profit generating companies. Again, four oil companies were on the 2011 top ten by profit list.