Doha, Qatar: Eight Qatar-based companies have been listed among the Forbes’ Top 100 Arab Family Businesses 2023. Al Faisal Holding (Rank 10), Power International Holding (Rank 13), Alfardan Group (Rank 17), Darwish Holding (Rank 57), Almana Group (Rank 69), Abu Issa Holding (Rank 96), Ali Bin Ali Holding (Rank 97), and Al Muftah Group (Rank 100) are the businesses that have been listed this year.
Most of the top family-owned businesses in the Middle East either started off as dealers, agents, or distributors for international companies, with the most successful enterprises evolving by adding more services and sectors to their portfolios, stated Forbes as it announced the list. Adding that however, recently more family businesses seem to be looking to access the region’s stock exchanges for growth.
The list includes businesses owned or run by Arab families with information collected from stock exchanges, reports from consulting firms, and other primary sources. The companies were ranked on the basis of the size and value of the businesses they hold, including listed entities, real estate and hospitality assets, and revenues from other holdings, their business activity last year, the sectors and geographies they diversified into, the performance of their key businesses and the sectors in which they operate, the legacy of the company and the total number of employees it recruits.
Of the 8 companies listed, Darwish Holding and Ali Bin Ali are the two companies that have made it to the list that featured seven companies in the year before.
Giving a brief outline on each of the listed companies, Forbes stated that Al Faisal Holding that was ranked ninth last year has over 50 companies operating across eight sectors. The group’s hospitality arm, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), has 35 hotels and projects in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. In January 2023, ARTIC and JW Marriott announced the completion of the first stage of the transformation of the JW Marriott Hotel Berlin. It further added that Al Faisal Holding’s Chairman Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani had a net worth of $1.7 billion as of July 4, 2023.
Forbes listed Power International Holiday (PIH) as a diversified business group operating in multiple sectors, including contracting, agriculture and food, real estate, and healthcare. It employs 65,000 people. The company maintained its position at Rank 13 as last year. Recently, in June 2023, PIH signed an MoU with China International Capital Corporation and Baiterek National in Kazakhstan. The group plans to expand its operations in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Maldives, Antigua, and the Seychelles.
Among the Qatari companies, Al Fardan Group saw the biggest move up in its ranking at 17 as compared with 33 last year. Forbes described Alfardan Group as one of the leading family conglomerates in Qatar, with a presence in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Oman, Türkiye, and Switzerland. The group’s portfolio includes jewelry, financial services, property development, automotive, hospitality, marine, agriculture, and medical services. In October 2022, Alfardan Group announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the group’s digital transformation. As a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, Alfardan Group adheres to its principles-based approach to sustainability.
Darwish Holding (Rank 57) was founded in 1900s by Abdullah Darwish with his brothers, Kassem and Abdulrahman. Today, the group has more than 1,700 employees representing over 800 major brands. It has nine divisions including retail, malls, estate, and technology among others. Its retail division features mono brands and Fifty One East, Qatar’s eldest, which offers luxury brands such as Boucheron, CHANEL, Givenchy, Rolex and TUDOR. The group also owns Lagoona Mall which entails 160 stores. Darwish Tower is the group’s major real estate landmark with an investment of over $400 million. Darwish Holding’s technology arm offers a portfolio of international brands like Fnac, Sony, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Yamaha, iSpace, Promethean, Hisense and others.
Al Mana Group that was ranked 74 moved few points up to be at 69 this year. The Group started as a trading house in 1960 and has since expanded into automotive distribution and services, real estate, investments, retail, F&B, engineering, technology, media, and entertainment. Almana Group’s automotive division represents some of the world’s leading brands, including Ford, Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge.
Abu Issa Holding Abu Issa Holding launched its first concept, Blue Salon, in 1981. Today, the group operates in nine countries and across 11 sectors, including retail, distribution, telecommunications, IT, energy and engineering, construction support services, investment, real estate, and marketing. In 2022, the group opened a flagship store for EX NIHILO PARIS in Qatar.
ABA Holding started importing international products to Qatar in 1945. Today, it is one of the country’s largest retail and distribution companies, with a presence in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Europe. It employs about 5,000 people and has over 400 brands. The company operates in sectors such as fashion, property management, hospitality, luxury, lifestyle, manufacturing, medical, and IT. The company owns Monoprix in Qatar, and the 21 High St shopping venue. It also owns a production facility for plastic bottles and operates a water treatment unit and a separate factory for bottling and packaging.
The Almuftah Group started selling gramophone records in 1963, then set up a tire showroom in 1968. Today, it has over 30 companies and employs 6,000 people across engineering and construction, travel, education, industrial equipment, automotive, restaurants and catering, consumer electronics, wellness, and trading, among other sectors. Almuftah Audio Visual is the sole authorized distributor of SHARP products in Qatar. Altadamon Motors and Trading is the authorized sub-dealer of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The group established the English Modern School in 1991.