Saudi Aramco tops Forbes Middle East’s list of top 100 firms

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Energy giant Saudi Aramco posted Sunday an 82 percent jump in first quarter profits.

Dubai:  Saudi Aramco, Qatar’s QNB Group and Saudi National Bank have been named as the top three companies in the Middle East by the Forbes Middle East, which released a list of the region’s 100 Most Valuable Listed Firms whose market value stands at $3 trillion.

The seven other companies in the top 10 are First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Emirates NBD, Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Electricity, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Etisalat Group and TAQA Group.

The Top-100 lists the region’s largest, most valuable, and most profitable companies.

To compile the list, Forbes Middle East gathered data from listed stock exchanges in the Arab world and evaluated companies based on sales, profits, assets, and market value.

Listed subsidiaries of other listed companies and companies that hadn’t disclosed their 2020 audited financial statements as of May 3, 2021, were excluded.

Saudi Arabia has the most companies on the list, with 37 led by Saudi Aramco, followed by the UAE with 20 companies led by the First Abu Dhabi Bank.

In third place is Qatar, with 17 entries led by QNB. For the second consecutive year, these three countries together comprise nearly 75% of the list.

The banking and financial services sector is still the most represented in the list with 42 entries, down from 46 in 2020. Five of the top 10 companies are banks. The real estate and construction sector and industrials sector are joint second with 10 entries each. Telecommunications is third with nine entries.

With the impact of the pandemic, most firms are not as valuable or profitable as they were a year ago. The aggregate sales of the 100 companies in 2021 stand at $550 billion, while aggregate net income reached $91 billion—a drop of 17.9% and 38.5%, respectively, compared to the 2020 list.

Combined, the market value of the 100 companies stands at $3 trillion, a surge of 30.4% compared to 2020—although Saudi Aramco’s valuation of $1.9 trillion makes up over 60% of this total.

The total value of assets climbed 2.9% to reach $3.6 trillion. Overall, 93% of the companies indicated an increase in their market value compared to 2020, and 62% of the firms were able to increase the value of their assets. Despite last year being a tough one for businesses worldwide, eight newcomers debuted on the list.

Of the 100, 37 companies feature on Forbes’ annual Global 2000 list this year, with Aramco at fifth place, retaining its title as the world’s largest oil company and the Middle East’s most valuable firm.