The fertile business terrain of Qatar has consistently nurtured enterprises, transforming several into industry giants. Many of these remarkable establishments, helmed by families, represent the country's robust entrepreneurial spirit.
Recently, the spotlight fell on eight such Qatari corporations that found a prestigious place in Forbes' Top 100 Arab Family Businesses 2023. Al Faisal Holding claimed the highest honor among the Qatari entities, securing the 10th spot. It was followed closely by Power International Holding in 13th position, Alfardan Group in 17th, and Darwish Holding at 57th.
The remaining top 100 was rounded off by Almana Group (69th), Abu Issa Holding (96th), Ali Bin Ali Holding (97th), and Al Muftah Group (100th).
Forbes notes that many of these leading Middle Eastern businesses began as local representatives of international companies, evolving over time by diversifying their services and sectors. In recent times, a significant trend among these family businesses is their growing interest in tapping into regional stock exchanges for expansion.
The Forbes ranking methodology involved data collected from multiple sources, including stock exchanges, consulting firms, and primary research. Various factors such as the size and value of their businesses — considering listed entities, real estate, and hospitality assets — revenue from other holdings, diversity in sectors and geographies, performance of primary businesses, legacy, and total employee count were taken into account.
Darwish Holding and Ali Bin Ali Holding repeated their previous year's feat, featuring in the list when seven Qatari companies were represented.
Al Faisal Holding, ranking ninth last year, boasts of more than 50 companies operating across eight sectors. Its hospitality arm, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), operates 35 hotels and projects across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding, flaunted a net worth of $1.7bn as of July 4, 2023, according to Forbes.
Power International Holding (PIH), maintaining its 13th rank from 2022, is a diversified business group offering services across several sectors, including contracting, agriculture and food, real estate, and healthcare, with a robust workforce of 65,000 people.
Exemplifying a significant upward shift in rankings was Al Fardan Group, climbing from 33rd to 17th place this year. This leading family conglomerate in Qatar has made its mark not just domestically, but also in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, and Switzerland, with an impressive portfolio across multiple sectors.
With roots dating back to the 1900s, Darwish Holding today is a prominent player boasting of over 1,700 employees and representing more than 800 leading brands through its nine divisions.
The Al Mana Group, leaping from 74th to 69th rank this year, has expanded from a trading house into a diverse conglomerate since its inception in 1960. It represents leading automotive brands such as Ford, Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge.
From launching its first concept, Blue Salon, in 1981, Abu Issa Holding has grown across nine countries and eleven sectors including retail, distribution, telecommunications, IT, energy and engineering, construction support services, investment, real estate, and marketing.
Ali Bin Ali Holding, which started by importing international products to Qatar in 1945, has grown into one of the largest retail and distribution companies with a presence in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Europe, and over 400 brands in its portfolio.
The Almuftah Group, founded in 1963 by selling gramophone records, has evolved into a conglomerate of over 30 companies, employing 6,000 people across diverse sectors, from engineering and construction to wellness and trading.