Saudi and Emirati corporations constituted more than half of the list.
Rabat – Four Moroccan conglomerates have ranked among the Top 100 Arab Family Businesses according to the Forbes Middle-East 2020 rankings.
The AKWA Group, chaired by Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch, appears on the 25th spot of the rankings, followed by Moroccan billionaire Othman Benjelloun’s FinanceCom holding company in the 38th place.
Diana Holding, chaired by Rita Maria Zniber, and Holmarcom Group, chaired by Mohamed Hassan Bensalah, also feature on the list, ranking 83rd and 88th respectively.
AKWA Group and FinanceCom
“Established in 1959, the AKWA Group has one of the largest storage capacities of gas in Morocco. With a fleet of 23 million bottles, AKWA Group’s subsidiary, Afriquia Gaz distributes six brands: Afriquia Gaz, Tissir Gaz, Ultra Gaz, Camping Gaz, National Gaz, and Butafric,” Forbes wrote.
According to the rankings, AKWA Group holds more than 46% of the Moroccan market share in the distribution of liquified petroleum gas—the main source of energy for cooking and water heating in Moroccan homes.
The group’s CEO, Akhannouch, has appeared on Forbes’ billionaire rankings several times. In January, the billionaire was named the 15th richest man in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion.
The second Moroccan family business to appear in the rankings, FinanceCom, is a holding company founded in 1977 by its chairman Benjelloun. The group has diverse investments across the banking sector, real estate, insurance, and telecoms.
The company’s biggest asset is the BMCE bank, which has branches in over 20 African countries.
“The group is building the $500 million 55-story Mohammed VI Tower in Rabat… FinanceCom is part of a project to develop a multi-billion-dollar tech city in Tangiers that is expected to host 200 Chinese companies,” Forbes wrote about the corporation’s current projects.
FinanceCom’s CEO ranked as the 17th richest man in Africa in January 2020, with an estimated wealth of $1.4 billion.
Diana Holding and Holmarcom Group
The 83rd Arab family business, Diana Holding, was founded in 1956 by Brahim Zniber. The company operates in the fields of agriculture, olive production, poultry farming, and trade and distribution.
“Its olive sector spans across 1,000 hectares of olive groves with an annual production of 500 tons of extra virgin olive oil,” Forbes revealed.
The corporate’s current chairman is the founder’s wife. In 2017, Forbes ranked Maria Zniber as the 35th most powerful Arab business woman.
The final Moroccan business on the list, Holmarcom Group, was founded in 1978 by Abdelkader Bensalah. It operates in finance, real estate, the agro-industry, distribution, and logistics.
Holmarcom’s most important assets are the Mineral Waters of Oulmes and Atlanta Insurance. The conglomerate has a presence in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Benin.
The group’s CEO, Hassan Bensalah received a Knight of the Order of the Throne decoration from King Mohammed VI, in 2004.
The CEO’s sister, Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, is also a prominent figure in Morocco’s business sector, having served as president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) between 2012 and 2018.
Saudi, Emirati businesses dominate the list
Saudi companies dominate the Top 100 Arab Family Business rankings with 36 entries on the list, followed by Emirati businesses with 21 entries.
The first rank on the list, however, goes to Egypt’s Mansour Group, followed by UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group, and Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Group. Saudi and Emirati businesses make up the remaining top 10, except for the eighth spot which is filled by Kuwait’s Alghanim Industries.
According to Forbes, family businesses are the backbone of the Middle-East’s economies. The majority of companies listed in the rankings have been passed down through at least one generation.
To make the list, the magazine looked at approximately 200 family-owned businesses in the Arab world and considered several criteria, including group investments in regional and global stock exchanges, real estate assets, business diversification, number of employees, number of countries they are present in, geographical diversification, and date of establishment.