Ranked once again at seven on the list, Industries Qatar is still the Middle East’s largest quoted conglomerate, but it is no longer the largest publicly traded company in Qatar. It was overtaken this year by Ezdan Real Estate Company, which has shot up the MEED 100 to five, after debuting in 2009 following its flotation on the Doha Securities Market in February 2008.

Conglomerates
Rank 2010 Rank 2009 Company Exchange Market Cap ($m) Share price ($)
7 7 Industries Qatar  Doha 16,413 29.8
14 14 Kingdom Holding Company Tadawul 11,167 3.01
63 64 Groupe ONA  Casablanca 2,931 166.19
67 38 Aamal Company  Doha 2,881 7.58
71 na Talaat Moustafa  Egypt 2,742 1.36
Source: Thomson Reuters

Nonetheless, Industries Qatar, whose companies include steel, fertiliser and petrochemical producers, has seen a huge increase in its market capitalisation, rising to $16.4bn from $10.8bn in the 2009 ranking on the back of an improvement in the commodities markets.

Egyptian conglomerate Talaat Mostafa Group was one of the seven companies to re-enter the rankings this year after dropping out in 2008.

The positions of Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Morocco’s Group ONA are little changed from last year.

KHC and Groupe ONA were largely unmoved in the ranking, but Qatar’s Aamal Company drops from 38 to 67.

KHC began 2009 on the back of disappointing financial results, which saw the group post a loss of nearly $8.3bn and its asset value plummeting by more than 44 per cent to $13.3bn after it sold several unnamed local and international investments at the end of the year.

The company’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal al-Saud is the largest private shareholder in troubled US bank Citigroup.

At first glance, 2009 was as difficult for the company, with its hotel operations showing a minor decline in operating results due to the slowdown in global tourism and hotel occupancy. It also recorded a decline in its portfolio carrying value due to continuing uncertainty in the world financial markets.

Ongoing commitment

Its latest financial results suggest the group has fared better than expected. Results for the fourth quarter reveal a net income of SR155m ($41.3m), an increase of 48 per cent when compared to the third quarter 2009. Prince Al-Waleed took the unusual step of transferring ownership of 180 million of his own Citigroup shares, valued at SR2.24bn to KHC shareholders. Net income for 2009 totalled SR402.6m 

The group could have been buoyed by its ongoing commitment to its two significant real estate projects in the kingdom. Kingdom City in Jeddah is expected to feature the world’s tallest tower exceeding 1,000 metres in height.

Kingdom City Riyadh, located on the Dammam highway northeast of Riyadh covers 16.8 square kilometres. The project will comprise residential, commercial, office and retail facilities.

KHC’s portfolio includes landmark hotel properties, hotel management companies, real estate, financial services, technology, media, retail and local investments.

Aamal Holding Company has four business divisions: trading, hospitality, trading and industrial services. And despite falling slightly in its market capitalisation, it can look forward to 2010 with relative confidence. In rather timely fashion, in January, Aamal Company set up a joint venture with Argentinian transport infrastructure company Cometrans Group to compete for work on Qatar’s planned national railway network.