Brand Finance logo

State Grid Charges Ahead as World’s Most Valuable Utilities Brand for 4th Consecutive Year

20 April 2021
This article is more than 2 years old.
  • Total value of world’s top 50 most valuable utilities brands has declined by 7% year-on-year
  • State Grid named world’s most valuable utilities brand for 4th consecutive year, brand value down 3% to US$55.2 billion
  • Six Chinese brands that feature in Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 ranking account for 36% of the total brand value
  • E.ON and Vattenfall electrify as first and second fastest growing brands, up 59% and 36%, respectively
  • KEPCO is world’s strongest utilities brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 86.4 out of 100

View the full Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 report here

World’s top 50 utilities brands down 7%

The total value of the world’s top 50 most valuable utilities brands has declined by 7%, decreasing from US$197.0 billion in 2020 to US$183.6 billion in 2021, according to the Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 report.

Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“As the world came to a standstill last year, utilities brands felt the shockwave of decreased power and electricity demand and grappled with disruptions to supply chains and the fallout from the global economic slowdown. Despite the total brand value of the world’s top 50 most valuable utilities brands declining 7% year-on-year, as economies begin to bounce back, so will utilities brands.”

State Grid charges ahead

State Grid has retained the title of the world’s most valuable utilities brand by a considerable margin, despite recording a 3% decrease in brand value to US$55.2 billion.

Spanning 26 provinces and supplying power to over 1.1 billion people, equating to a staggering 88% of the population, State Grid is the world’s largest public utility brand. The behemoth also operates overseas in the Philippines, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, and Italy. The brand is continuing to expand its global footprint, particularly in the Latin America region, having announced the purchase of Chilean companies Chilquinta and CGE last year.

Following President Xi Jinping’s bold pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060, State Grid has outlined its plan to support the nation’s clean energy drive through the development of new infrastructure - including wind, solar, and hydro power - as well as the promotion of electric energy to replace coal and fossil fuels.

Chinese brands dominate

Aside from State Grid, a further five Chinese brands feature in the Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 ranking: CGN (brand value down 2% to US$2.9 billion); GD Power Development (down 7% to US$2.6 billion); Datang Power (down 3% to US$1.8 billion); ENN (down18% to US$1.7 billion); and China Yangtze Power (up 12% to US$1.1 billion).

China Yangtze Power is a new entrant this year, claiming 49th position in the ranking. The brand is the largest hydropower company in the world in terms of consolidated installed capacity of hydropower. It joined the London Stock Exchange last year, becoming the third company to list in London through the London-Shanghai Stock Connect Scheme.

The total value of the six Chinese brands in the ranking account for 36% of the total brand value. Behind China, the US’s 20 brands that feature account for 19% of the total brand value.

E.ON and Vattenfall electrify as fastest growing

The sector’s fastest growing brand is E.ON, following an impressive 59% brand value increase to US$4.7 billion, simultaneously jumping five spots in the ranking to 7th position. Celebrating its 20th birthday last year, the German utilities giant has benefitted from a combination of organic and inorganic growth. The resilience of the firm’s business model in the face of COVID-19, combined with its adaptability and move towards renewable energy, has played a role in E.ON’s chart-topping growth. The results of an internal restructuring and the successful incorporation of German energy company, Innogy, have also played a substantial role in boosting its brand value.

Sweden’s Vattenfall is the second fastest growing brand this year, recording a 36% brand value growth to US$2.7 billion and climbing from 30th to 14th position. Despite profits taking a hit as a result of the pandemic, Vattenfall has shown impressive resilience given the reduction in power generation and lower sales of electricity, gas, and heat. The brand has continued to focus on its investment projects, expansion, and partnerships, which include offshore wind investment projects and the opening of the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands.

KEPCO is sector’s strongest

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, KEPCO (down 19% to US$6.0 billion) is once again the world’s strongest utilities brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 86.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

KEPCO lies at the heart of the South Korean government’s Green New Deal, which commits the nation to focus on renewable energy and infrastructure, as well as the implementation of circular economy initiatives, including reducing and recycling energy.

The South Korean majority state-owned utility has caused some controversy recently after being forced to reverse its decision to support and fund overseas coal projects – either by withdrawing completely or converting the plants to liquified natural gas plants – following global protests.


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, evaluating their strength and quantifying their value, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s 50 most valuable utilities brands are included in the Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 report.

The full Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 ranking, additional insights, charts, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Utilities 50 2021 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Please see below for a full explanation of our methodology.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.


Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Value

Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. Organisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.

All brand valuation methodologies are essentially trying to identify this, although the approach and assumptions differ. As a result, published brand values can be different.

These differences are similar to the way equity analysts provide business valuations that are different to one another. The only way you find out the “real” value is by looking at what people really pay.

As a result, Brand Finance always incorporates a review of what users of brands actually pay for the use of brands in the form of brand royalty agreements, which are found in more or less every sector in the world.

This is known as the “Royalty Relief” methodology and is by far the most widely used approach for brand valuations since it is grounded in reality.

It is the basis for our public rankings but we always augment it with a real understanding of people’s perceptions and their effects on demand – from our database of market research on over 3000 brands in over 30 markets.

Brand Valuation Methodology

For our rankings, Brand Finance uses the simplest method possible to help readers understand, gain trust in, and actively use brand valuations.

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668.

Our Brand Strength Index assessment, a balanced scorecard of brand-related measures, is also compliant with international standards (ISO 20671) and operates as a predictive tool of future brand value changes and a control panel to help business improving marketing.

We do this in the following four steps:

1. Brand Impact

We review what brands already pay in royalty agreements. This is augmented by an analysis of how brands impact profitability in the sector versus generic brands.

This results in a range of possible royalties that could be charged in the sector for brands (for example a range of 0% to 2% of revenue).

2. Brand Strength

We adjust the rate higher or lower for brands by analysing Brand Strength. We analyse brand strength by looking at three core pillars: “Investment” which are activities supporting the future strength of the brand; “Equity” which are real perceptions sourced from our original market research and other data partners; “Performance” which are brand-related measures of business results, such as market share.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+, in a format similar to a credit rating.

3. Brand Impact x Brand Strength

The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4. Brand Value Calculation

We determine brand-specific revenues as a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to the brand in question and forecast those revenues by analysing historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

We then apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues and apply the relevant valuation assumptions to arrive at a discounted, post-tax present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Get in Touch