Serrari Group

Saudi oil giant Aramco has retained its position at the top of Forbes Middle East’s Top 100 list, highlighting the dominance of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) firms in the region’s corporate landscape. With assets totaling $660.8 billion and a market value of $1.9 trillion, Aramco stands as a pillar of the Middle East’s economic strength.

Forbes Middle East’s ranking, released on June 9, 2024, shows that GCC firms account for 92 of the 100 entries. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads with 32 companies, closely followed by Saudi Arabia with 31. Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman also contribute to the list, reflecting the widespread economic activity across the region.

The banking and financial services sector is the most represented, with 45 entries generating $223.5 billion in sales and holding $3.3 trillion in assets. Notably, six of the top 10 companies are from this sector. However, the energy sector, driven by Aramco, is the most profitable, with five companies reporting combined profits of $127.5 billion. Telecommunications and industrials are also significant, with nine and seven entries, respectively.

Despite a 5.1% decline in sales from $1.1 trillion in 2022 to $1 trillion in 2023, and a 13.5% drop in net profits to $240.2 billion, the total market value of these companies remains strong at $3.6 trillion. Additionally, their assets grew by 5.4% to $4.9 trillion, indicating robust financial health.

Aramco’s strategic initiatives include a partnership with China’s Rongsheng Petrochemical and an increased allocation of $4 billion to its venture capital arm, Aramco Ventures, bringing the total investment to $7 billion. These moves illustrate Aramco’s efforts to diversify its portfolio and enhance its global presence.

The top three companies on this year’s list are Aramco, Saudi National Bank, and the UAE’s International Holding Company, all of which maintain strong financial positions. The full top 10 includes:

  1. Aramco – Saudi Arabia (Energy)
  2. Saudi National Bank (SNB) – Saudi Arabia (Banks & Financial Services)
  3. International Holding Company (IHC) – UAE (Investments)
  4. QNB Group – Qatar (Banks & Financial Services)
  5. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) – UAE (Banks & Financial Services)
  6. Emirates NBD – UAE (Banks & Financial Services)
  7. Al Rajhi Bank – Saudi Arabia (Banks & Financial Services)
  8. Taqa Group – UAE (Utilities)
  9. Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) – Saudi Arabia (Utilities)
  10. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) – Kuwait (Banks & Financial Services)

Forbes Middle East compiled the list using data from publicly listed stock exchanges in the Arab world, evaluating companies based on sales, assets, and profits for the 2023 financial year, along with market value as of April 26, 2024. Each metric was given equal weight.

As these top 100 companies drive the Middle East’s economic growth, Aramco’s leadership and the region’s diversified industrial base signal a promising future for continued innovation and financial strength.

Photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

10th June, 2024

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