They were also the only F&B companies on the list, largely dominated by firms from banking and financial services, energy, real estate and telecommunications.
The Forbes Middle East Top 100 Companies 2020 list considered the largest and most profitable companies listed on the region’s stock exchanges, relying on the companies’ financial statements.
The highest-ranking F&B company, Almarai (ranked 30) specialises in dairy, but is also a manufacturer and distributor of bakery, juice, infant nutrition and poultry. In 2019, it achieved total sales of US$3.8bn, and net profit of US$480m.
Second-ranking Savola Group (ranked 39) operates its food (Savola Foods) and retail entities (Savola Retail) across MENA and Turkey. Savola Foods is a producer of oil, sugar, pasta and ghee while Savola Retail owns Saudi Arabia’s grocery store chain, Panda Retail Company. There are 205 Panda Retail stores across the country.
Savola Group also owns a 34% share of Almarai and 49% stake in fast food restaurant chain Herfy Food Services Company.
The firm reported total sales of US$5.9bn and net profit of US$175m in 2019.
In an official statement by the company, Eng. Anees Ahmed Moumina, group chief executive officer of Savola Group said: “As the group celebrates the 40th anniversary, we are pleased to note that 2019 was a strong year for Savola in terms of business performance, revenue, and net profit.”
“This recognition stands as a proof of our commitment towards our internal and external markets as well as to our support to our local communities and employees who contributed to these successes and achievements.”
At rank 93, Abdullah Al Othaim Markets is another food retailer which operates supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
It recorded total sales of US$2.2bn and net profits of US$93m last year.
Board member and CEO, Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Othaim said in an official statement: "We managed to achieve high sales rates and excellent market share growth in the previous three years by adopting an aggressive growth strategy, with an increasing number of branches reaching 243 branches around the Kingdom."
Of the top 100 companies in Middle East, Saudi Arabia dominated the list with 33 companies, followed by UAE and Qatar with 21 and 18 companies respectively.
Saudi’s oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco claimed the top position this year with net profit of US$88.2m.
In another report by Brand Finance on the most valuable Middle East companies in 2020, Almarai was also ranked the most valuable food company at 18th position, a drop from 15th in 2019. Panda (Savola Retail) was ranked 44th, dropping from 42th position. Abdullah Al Othaim Markets achieved 48th position, up one spot.