Qatar loses ground in Forbes Middle East 500 index


Stewart Lacey/Flickr

Qatar’s share of the Middle East’s leading companies has dropped since last year, as Forbes Middle East revealed its latest list of Top 500 Companies in the Arab World.

A total of 35 Qatari publicly-listed companies made the cut for 2014, compared to last year’s list, where there were 40 Qatari firms.

Of the firms which made the top 10 in the region, Qatar had two. Qatar National Bank (QNB) climbed one spot from last year to take third place overall, while telecoms firm Ooredoo made it to ninth place – two positions down from last year.

Industries Qatar, which had just sneaked into 10th place in 2013, this year dropped seven places to take the 17th spot overall.

Of Qatar’s ten leading businesses in the list, only two firms improved their position on last year, and they were both banks. In addition to QNB, Masraf Al Rayyan climbed nine places to take 28th position out of the list of 500 companies.

This year, four of a total of 15 sectors – banking, services, industrials and retail – were headed by Qatari companies.

Index details

Forbes ME top 20

Forbes Middle East

Top 500 Companies in the Arab World builds on Forbes’ Global 2000 list and was based on disclosed financial statements for 2013, collated from stock markets across the region. Criteria considered when producing the list include total revenue, net profits, total assets, and market capitalization.

The stock price – which determine market capitalization – of many publicly traded companies in Qatar, as well as the UAE, rose over the past year as investors snapped up shares in anticipation of a classification upgrade in May 2014 by financial services firm MSCI.

However, some have suggested that this caused many local companies to become overvalued and prompting a market correction this month as the Qatar Exchange’s main index tumbled more than nine percent.

While GCC countries dominate the list, Qatar’s share comes some way behind Saudi Arabia, which has an economy that’s more than four times as large as Qatar and is home to 108 of the 500 companies on Forbes’ list.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and Saudi Telecom took first and second place on the list respectively. You can see a full breakdown of the latest list here.

KSA is followed by Kuwait and then the UAE, which has 74 companies listed.

Qatar comes 7th in terms of total number of companies which make the list.

Sector breakdown

While Qatar’s overall position on the list has declined, some Qatari companies do lead the way in their sectors of expertise.

  • Industrials, the most widely represented sector with 107 companies, is headed by Qatar Industries for the second year with a market value of $31.3 billion.
  • The banking sector is led by QNB in terms of revenues ($5.4 billion), assets ($121.8 billion), profits ($2.6 billion) and market value ($37.1 billion).
  • Qatar has a total of nine companies in the list of 101 banks
  • Qatar Electricity and Water Company, which came in 66th place overall, headed the list of services companies.
  • In retail, 17 companies feature, with eight entries representing Saudi Arabia. However, top honors go to Qatar Fuel – Woqod, which boasted revenues of $3.5 billion and market value of $4.4 billion last year. Overall, Qatar holds four entries from this sector.
  • Qatar Insurance and Qatar General Insurance come in second and third places respectively in the insurance category, out of a total of 31 companies which made the grade this year.



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