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appleLONDON: Apple remains the world's most valuable brand according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 list.

Samson, Google, Microsoft and Verizon complete the top five. Wal-Mart, once perceived as the world's top brand, dropped four places to No.9 in 2013 while on-line retailer Amazon remained at No.8 for the second year.

David Haigh, CEO of the UK-based consulting company that produces the annual list, says what sets Apple apart from other triple-rated brands such as Ferrari is the ability to monetize its value: "Though tablets were in use before the iPad, it was the application of the Apple brand to the concept that captured the public imagination and allowed it to take off as a commercial reality." At US$104.6 billion Apple remains in the top slot for the third year in a row.

UPS moved up one place in the Top 500 list to 48 – the highest brand position of any logistics company - followed by FedEx up five places at 82. DHL just made the Top 100 at that position while Union Pacific dropped 18 places to 199; Britain's Royal Mail entered the list for the first time at 236; Maersk moved up 33 places to 372 and DHL's parent Deutsche Post rose 34 places to 419.

In monetary terms compared to Apple, UPS has a brand value of US$19.4 billion; FedEx, US$13.5 billion; DHL, US$11.2 billion; Union Pacific, US$6.3 billion; Royal Mail, US$5.5 billion; Maersk, US$3.8 billion; and Deutsche Post, US$3.5 billion.

The top airline brands last year were Emirates Airlines up 53 places to 234 with a value of US$5.5 billion; Delta, up 83 places to US$4.7 billion; American straight in at 298 with a brand value of US$4.5 billion; Lufthansa dropped five places to 331 and US$4.2 billion; United was up 36 places to 379 and US$3.8 billion; and finally Singapore Airlines that dropped 60 places to 458 with a value of US$3.2 billion.

U.S. brands continue to dominate the Top 500 list with 185 of the 500 spots, followed by Japan, Germany, France and the UK.

Brand Finance says nations that did not do so well in 2013 included Finland where its Nokia brand finally fell off the table after several years in decline. It followed Canada's Blackberry that dropped out in 2012. Other declining countries included Russia, India and Brazil - where the number of brands fell from nine to five with the remaining apparently losing over 20 percent of their value. Of the five Indian brands left in the table, only Tata increased its brand value last year climbing five places to 34 on the Top 500 list with a value of US$21.1 billion.

According to the consulting company, brand value is calculated using the "Royalty Relief" methodology that determines the value a company would be willing to pay to license its brand as if it did not own it. This approach involves estimating the future revenue attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand.

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