Six Bahraini firms in Forbes list of top 100 Arab family businesses

YK Almoayyed & Sons leads a six-strong Bahrain presence in Forbes’ list of Top 100 Arab Family Businesses In The Middle East 2021.

Ranked 38th, the diversified enterprise is led by Farouk Almoayyed as chairman and represents over 300 international brands, including Nissan, Ford, Infiniti, Lincoln, Renault, Toshiba, Glem Gas, and Sony.

Its profile today includes automobiles, heavy equipment, building materials, and electronics, among others.

Next in line is the Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo Group (YBA Kanoo) Group, ranked 51st on the list.

Founded in 1890 as a trading and shipping company, the firm has since expanded to cover other sectors such as travel, machinery, engineering, logistics, property, energy, industrial chemicals, and commercial activities.

Khalid Kanoo is the chairman of the group whose investment division has more than 30 joint ventures and over 40 active investments.

With operations in Bahrain, Iraq, the UAE, Qatar, and India, the Abdulla Yousif Fakhro Group takes 78th place on the list.

Chaired by Esam Abdulla Fakhro, the firm has operations in the automotive, industrial, electronics, telecommunications, insurance, contracting, shipping, and logistics sectors, including strategic alliances with global partners such as Budget Rent-A-Car, BYD Auto, Mobil, Sony Ericsson, Cisco and McDonald’s.

Close on its heels is 80th ranked Al Zayani Investments, whose chairman is Nawaf Al Zayani.

The group has interests in five sectors including industries, automobiles, real estate, food and beverages, and venture capital.

In the final quartile of the list, in 90th place, is Nass Group, which has 32 companies operating under its umbrella across Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and Oman.

Sameer Nass is the chairman of the group that operates in sectors including engineering and construction, manufacturing, services and ecological, marine services, trading, and marketing.

The Nass family is a majority stakeholder in Nass Corporation, a publicly-listed firm on the Bahrain Bourse, which was also the first Bahraini family business to go public.

Rounding off Bahrain’s presence in the chart is Mohammed Jalal & Sons, ranked 98th.

The group engages in multiple sectors, including construction, oil and gas, contracting, engineering, trading, IT solutions, food and beverage, travel, interior design, water purification, security, facilities management, and real estate.

The company has partnered with international brands such as Schindler, General Electric, and Putzmeister.

Overall, Saudi companies dominate the list with 36 entries, followed by the UAE with 25 mentions and Kuwait with seven spots.

According to a 2019 report by PwC, family firms contribute approximately 60 per cent to the region’s GDP and employ 80pc of the workforce.

The report estimates that up to $1 trillion had passed from one generation to the next within the Middle East’s family businesses in the previous decade.

Of the top 100 family-run companies in 2021, 32 of the chairs are the original founders or co-founders, and only three are headed by women: Mohsin Haider Darwish, headed by Areej and Lujaina Darwish; the Olayan Group, run by Hutham Olayan; and the Orientals Group, chaired by Yasmine Khamis.

Forbes based the ranking on the size of the family business holding, including the value of listed entities owned by them, the value of their real estate and hospitality assets, and revenues from other holdings where available.

The number of total employees, the extent of diversification in terms of sector and geography, the performance of sectors in which they operate, and age and legacy of the company were also key inputs.

Only Arab family businesses or holding companies that are jointly owned or run by family members were considered.

Listed companies were not considered to be family-owned businesses but as investments of the family holding groups.

Information was collected from stock exchanges, reports from consulting firms and universities, and other primary sources.




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