Companies in the Arab region breathed a sigh of relief in 2016, as oil prices picked up again compared to the previous year. As a result, stock markets across the region also began to rise, although some countries are still facing challenges in implementing planned reforms.
The total market value of the top 100 companies in the Arab world reached $772 billion in April 2017, gaining 12% on the previous year.
Although aggregate net profits decreased by 9.7% to reach $52.9 billion, sales and total assets increased by 2.4% and 3.8% to reach $288.3 billion and $2.7 trillion respectively during 2016, as companies’ operational performance was relatively stable.
Saudi Arabia still dominates the list with 36 companies, followed by Qatar and the U.A.E. with 19 and 17 companies respectively, with SABIC (#1) being the biggest company in the kingdom and the Arab world.
49% are from the banks and financial services sector, which is witnessing a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco and Egypt. QNB (#2) still holds its position as the top listed bank in the region, closely followed by the fruit of the NBAD and FGB merger, First Abu Dhabi Bank (#3), headquartered in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
The telecommunications and industrial sectors came in the second and third with Etisalat (#5) being the biggest telecommunications company in all metrics and Industries Qatar (#31) the biggest industrial company in the list.
Although the Egyptian currency was hit hard last year off the back of the devaluation, Egypt holds its share in the top 100 companies in the Arab world list with three companies, as the Egyptian stock exchange (EGX 30) gained 75%, making it the biggest gainer in the Arab world.
Global Telecom Holding (#33) was the top gainer in the list and Americana was excluded from this year’s list as the company is on its way to delist from the stock market.
This year we welcome 10 new entrants: Omantel (#71), National Bank of Bahrain (#83), LafargeHolcim Maroc (#89), Elsewedy Electric (#92), Emaar The Economic City (#94), Saudi Ground Services (#94), Advanced Petrochemical Company (#97), BBK (#98), National Bank of Oman (#99) and Mannai Corporation (#100).
We started with 1,300 listed companies in the Arab stock markets from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, U.A.E. (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. We excluded publicly-traded subsidiaries of listed companies, those suspended from trading, as well as companies that didn’t disclose their 2016 financial statements.
To rank the top 100 companies in the Arab world, we measured four metrics: market value, sales, net profits and total assets. Market value and currency conversions are as of April 6, 2017.
The cut-off was $1.9 billion for market value, $849 million for sales, $133 million for net profits and $5 billion for total assets. Each company received four separate scores based on where it ranked in each metric within the list.
To qualify, a company had to meet the minimum for at least one metric. It received a zero score if it fell below the stated cut-off. 154 listed companies qualified at minimum one metric. We added all four scores (equally weighted) to reach a composite score and rank the companies. SABIC was the highest, while Mannai Corporation came in at 100.