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The ten most profitable publicly-listed British companies that made it to the Forbes Global 2000 list for 2010 are listed below.

Rank Company Ticker Industry Sales ($bil) Profits ($bil)
1 BP BP Oil & Gas Operations 239.27 16.58
2 Barclays BCS Banking 65.91 15.17
3 GlaxoSmithKline GSK Drugs & Biotechnology 45.83 8.94
4 AstraZeneca AZN Drugs & Biotechnology 32.8 7.52
5 HSBC Holdings HBC Banking 103.74 5.83
6 Lloyds Banking Group LYG Banking 106.67 4.57
7 Vodafone VOD Telecommunications Services 58.35 4.38
8 British Amer Tobacco BTI Food, Drink & Tobacco 22.95 4.38
9 Rolls-Royce Group OTCPK:RYCEY Aerospace & Defense 16.82 3.59
10 BG Group OTCQX:BRGYY Oil & Gas Operations 16.5 3.5

All the firms noted above are also part of the FTSE 100 index. The oil giant BP plc (NYSE:BP) is the most profitable British company. The current yield on the BP ADR is 7.54%. After the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico BP’s stock has taken a hit falling from over $60 to $43.86 Friday. Oil and Gas company BG Group plc (OTCQX:BRGYY) and Rolls Royce Group (OTCPK:RYCEY) trade on the OTC markets.The three banking stocks in the list can be avoided now due to many uncertainties in that sector.

Drug firms AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) are excellent long term high yield plays. Currently they pay 8.34% and 5.52% dividends respectively due in part to lower stock prices. British American Tobacco (NYSEMKT:BTI) revenue totaled about $23B last year. Similar to US tobacco giant Altria Group (NYSE:MO), BTI also offers a high dividend yield that currently stands at 7.66%. Telecom services provider Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has a strong presence in many emerging markets.