Saudi Arabia and the UAE dominate the list of the Middle East’s top 100 family businesses, according to Forbes Middle East, accounting for over half of all entries.
Saudi Arabia topped the list with 36 family businesses, followed by the UAE with 21.
The rest of the list included businesses in Kuwait with 10 family-owned operations, Oman, 6, Bahrain, 5, Qatar, 5, Jordan, 4, Morocco, 4, Algeria, 3, Egypt, 3, and Lebanon, 3.
Most companies on the list have been passed down through at least one generation, while 10 companies on the list were more than a century old, and 13 were between 75-100 years old, Forbes said.
Around 80 percent of these family businesses are dealers or agents for international brands, Forbes added, with international automotive brands, fashion retailers and fast-moving consumer goods – such as food and drink – all noted as particularly successful.
Forbes examined around 200 family-owned businesses in the Middle East, examining group investments, business diversification, employee numbers, type of business and diversification, number of countries with operations present, and date of establishment in their ranking.
The top 10 family businesses in the Middle East
1. Mansour Group – Egypt
Egypt’s Mansour Group takes the top spot in the list, with operations in over 100 countries comprised of six divisions. The group is a large dealer for General Motors and Caterpillar, and runs over 100 McDonald’s outlets, Forbes noted.
2. Al-Futtaim Group – UAE
Established around 90 years ago, the UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group came second. The group has businesses in sectors ranging from automotive, to retail, real estate and financial services.
3. Olayan Group – Saudi Arabia
A considerable investor in banks and real estate, Saudi’s Olayan Group was founded in 1947.
4. Majid Al Futtaim – UAE
Relatively young compared to other top entrants and founded in 1992, UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim is a retail and entertainment giant, owning some of the largest malls in the world, including Mall of the Emirates.
5. Rashed Abdul Rahman Al Rashed & Sons Group – Saudi Arabia
Founded half way through the last century in 1950, Rashed Abdul Rahman Al Rashed & Sons operates 26 wholly-owned companies, Forbes reported, including in construction, automotive and food products.
6. Abdul Latif Jameel Group – Saudi Arabia
Operating in 30 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Latif Jameel Group deals in a range of services, including transportation, consumer products, and advertising.
7. Al-Ghurair – UAE
Al-Ghurair established the Middle East and North Africa’s first shopping mall in 1982, the Al Ghurair Centre, and operates the largest poultry farm in the UAE. The company’s billionaire owner Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair also founded Mashreq Bank, the UAE’s largest private bank.
8. Alghanim Industries – Kuwait
Alghanim was founded in 1932 and runs over 30 businesses in segments ranging from automotive to food, and industrial. The company runs brands including Costa Coffee, Ford and Wendy’s, Forbes reported.
9. Al Ghurair Group – UAE
Founded in 1960 by Saif Ahmed Al Ghurair, the Al Ghurair Group has a large real estate portfolio, and petrochemical and metal manufacturing businesses.
10. Zamil Group Holding – Saudi Arabia
A century old and founded in 1920, the Zamil Group became the first family business to be listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in 2002, and owns shares in two companies on the exchange – Zamil Industrial and Sahara petrochemical.