Unveiling Fortune 500 Arabia List for the first time: UAE Topped the 100 Most Profitable Companies

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Fortune Arabia released today Fortune 500 Arabia, the list that ranks the 500 largest corporations in the Arab region according to their annual revenues. Unveiled after seven decades since the inception of the globally acclaimed Fortune 500 list, this new list represents a pivotal moment in the business world in the region, and sets a new standard for transparency, integrity, and market influence.

The first of its kind list of the largest companies in the Arab region was selected using a methodology based strictly on reported and verified revenues. The total revenues of the companies listed on Fortune 500 Arabia for the current year amounted to approximately 1.6 trillion US dollars, while net profits reached 343 billion US dollars. The data used to compile the list was based on 2022, a year when companies were regaining their footing following the Covid-19 pandemic, only to be plunged directly into the crisis of the Russian-Ukraine war, the global inflation crisis, and the increase in interest rates.

Fortune 500 Arabia reveals that the UAE is home to the headquarters of 87 Fortune 500 Arabia companies, marking approximately 17% of the list, generating a total of USD 254.87 billion in 2022. This ranks the UAE second after Saudi Arabia, whose 153 companies generated USD 813.33 billion.

UAE companies topped Fortune 500 Arabia in terms of employee numbers, with a total of 681,390 employees across 87 companies, accounting for 17.4% of the companies on the list, surpassing Saudi companies of 548,625 employees. UAE comes second in terms of company numbers, just after Saudi Arabia’s 153 companies.

UAE female leaders prominently featured on Fortune 500 Arabia companies, accounting for 20% of the female leadership on the list. Moroccan female leaders also represented 20%, followed by Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti female leaders, each comprising 6.7%.

The list of women CEOs, including 15 leaders contributing to strong results for their companies, was topped by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)’s CEO, Emirati Hana Al Rostamani, who ranked 20th on Fortune 500 Arabia list. In 2022, the bank achieved USD 11.23 billion revenues and a net profit of USD 3.65 billion.

In general, the number of UAE CEOs in listed companies reached 38 CEOs, placing UAE third, following Egypt, which ranked second by 64 CEOs, and Saudi Arabia which topped the list with 128 CEOs.

In terms of net profits on Fortune 500 Arabia list, UAE companies ranked third with USD 49.29 billion, securing 14.36% of the 500 companies total profits, amounting to USD 343.23 billion. UAE came after Qatar, as its companies achieved USD 54.35 billion, and Saudi Arabia topped the list with USD 198.93 billion

Among Fortune 500 Arabia companies, there were more than 150 companies with revenues exceeding one billion USD, including 23 privately-held companies.

“Fortune 500 list has been a well-known classification of global companies since its inception by Fortune magazine almost seven decades ago. Being part of the Fortune 500 list is significant, as it carries specific criteria that hold great importance for shareholders, investors and analysts, and offers substantial opportunities for the companies included in this classification”, said   Fortune Arabia’s Editor-in-Chief, Hamoud Almahmoud.

He added: “Fortune 500 Arabia comes at a time when companies and markets are increasingly focusing on listing in financial markets and making informed economic decisions. Having a platform that provides trusted data for companies in the region through several key indicators is essential for today’s decision-makers, and that’s exactly what Fortune 500 Arabia will provide.”

The CEO of Fortune Media, Alan Murray, commented on the launch of Fortune 500 Arabia list, saying: “Fortune is the global benchmark for measuring business success. The launch of the Fortune 500 Arabia list shows that the Arab world has taken a central position in the business world.” He added: “If you want to do business in the region, these are the companies to focus on. We extend our congratulations to our partners at Majarra for successfully launching this crucial list and turning it into a reality.”