Jun 01, 2020

Top 10 biggest companies in the Middle East & Africa

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC)
MTN Group
Amber Donovan-Stevens
4 min
Top 10 biggest companies in the Middle East & Africa

Business Chief looks at the top 10 biggest companies in the Middle East & Africa, according to their revenue and reputation as an employer.


10. National Commercial Bank (NCB)

The National Commercial Bank (NCB), also known as AlAhli Bank, specialises in retail and corporate banking, treasuries, and capital markets. Led by CEO Saeed Mohammed, NCB employs more than 13,000 people and is ranked as one of the world’s best employers by Forbes. The National Commercial Bank recently posted revenue in excess of $6bn, placing it amongst the top five largest banks in the Middle East.


9. Qatar National Bank (QNB)

Qatar National Bank is one of the world’s largest public companies, achieving the 237th spot in Forbes’ Global 2000 ranking in 2018. Its portfolio includes products such as credit cards, home mortgages, securities, and asset management among others. QNB generated revenue of $6.4bn in 2018, with profits exceeding $3.8bn. QNB was founded in 1964, and is led by chairman Ali Sharif Al Emadi and CEO Abdulla Mubarak Al-Khalifa. QNB is recognised in the Forbes’ Top 500 Employers list 2018. Today, it has 28,000 members of staff across 4,300 branches worldwide.


8. First Abu Dhabi Bank

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this upstart banking organisation was founded in 2017 and has already posted revenue of $7.2bn. The company grew to prominence as a merger between long-standing financial institutions First Gulf Bank and the National Bank of Dubai. Operating in 19 countries, the firm is led by CEO Abdulhamid Saeed. In recent years, management has emphasised the importance of technology and world-class customer service to make inroads in global customer markets. First Abu Dhabi Bank climbed into Forbes’ Best Employers list in 2018.


7. FirstRand Ltd.

This Johannesburg-based banking company posted revenue exceeding $6.7bn and profits of approximately $2bn in 2018 Led by CEO Johannes Burger, the organisation specialises in mortgage lending, credit cards, investment, insurance, wealth management, and personal loan products. It has a portfolio that operates both in the retail and commercial financial markets. The company has won awards such as the Best Bank Performer, employs more than 44,000 people and has shown substantial growth in recent years.


6. Shoprite Holdings

Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, Shoprite continues to rank among the global retail giants and posted revenue in excess of $10.9bn and profits of approximately $5bn in 2018. Founded in 1979 and led by CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, the corporation has subsidiaries such as Checkers with more than 200 stores in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Its flagship Shoprite brand has more than 600 stores across over a dozen countries, and employs more than 143,000 people.


5. Saudi Telecom

Based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Telecom was founded in 1998 and today has a revenue of $13.6bn. Led by CEO Nasser S. Al Nasser, Saudi Telecom’s profits have routinely exceeded $2.25bn while employing approximately 23,000 people. The organization has a strong focus on fixed-line, mobile and internet services. Although it held a virtual monopoly in its home country until 2007, it continues to lead the market despite incursions into its total annual sales.


4. Etisalat

Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC (branded trade name Etisalat) was founded in 1976, and the telecommunications company has an international presence in the Middle East and Africa. Its reported revenue of $14.2bn ranks it as a regional leader in internet hubs and wireless communications. Based in Abu Dhabi, the organisation is led by CEO Saleh Al Abdooli and has generated profits exceeding $8.3bn. Its diverse telecom-based services also include media-related equipment, contracting and consulting.


3. MTN Group

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, this telecommunications company posted revenue of more than $16bn with profitability exceeding $3.3bn in 2018. MTN has operations in Africa, Asia, and Europe and had 232.6mn subscribers in 2016. Although it has a presence in upwards of 20 nations, approximately 30% of its revenue comes from Nigeria. Led by CEO Rob Shuter, the company has moved forward with its 5G network, outpacing all African competitors while employing more than 17,000 people.


2. Sasol

Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, this oil and gas company posted revenue exceeding $21.7bn and profits over $3.1bn in 2018. It ranks in the Top 100 most regarded companies, according to Forbes. Led by joint CEOs Stephen Cornell and Bongani Nqwababa, Sasol employs more than 30,00 people and operates in the U.S, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Mozambique among others. Its low-carbon electricity initiatives have raised the company’s value to 10-year highs. Sasol operatives through subsidiaries such as South African Energy Cluster, International Energy Cluster and Chemical Cluster among others.


1. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC)

Founded in 1976, Saudi Basic Industries Corp has 30% public ownership whilst the remaining 70% is owned by the Saudi Arabian government. Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it produces a diverse cross-section of chemicals, metals, plastics, film, and nutrients among many other products. Consistently one of the world’s leading petrochemical manufacturers, it reported over $41bn in revenue and profits above $6.7bn in 2018. Led by chairman Abdulaziz Saleh Aljarbou, and CEO Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, SABIC employs upwards of 40,000 people in approximately 50 countries.

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