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Five Omani firms among top 100 Middle East Arab family businesses

17 May 2021

Forbes Middle East has unveiled its annual ranking of the Top 100 Arab Family Businesses for 2021, celebrating some of the region’s longest-standing business success stories. The list recognises many companies that have helped shape the region and handed down their legacies through generations.

From Oman, Suhail Bahwan Group tops the list ranked 12th, followed by the Zubair Corporation (25th), Saud Bahwan Group (33rd), Mohsin Haider Darwish (77th) and WJ Towell & Co (94th). 

Among the 100 listed, those headquartered in Saudi Arabia lead (36), followed by the UAE (25), Kuwait (seven), Bahrain (six), Egypt (five) and Oman (five) and others. 

Saudi Arabia’s diversified Olayan Group tops the list. Founded by Suliman Olayan as a contracting and trading company, the conglomerate today has a diverse commercial, industrial and investment portfolio. Egypt’s Mansour Group and the UAE-based Majid al Futtaim make up the top three spots.

Diversified business corporations – groups that invest in various sectors and geographies – dominate the ranking with 87 entries. Saudi-headquartered Assila Investments is the only non-diversified group in the top ten. Assila Investments is also the ranking’s youngest business alongside MASIC, both of which were founded in 2010. In comparison, Oman’s WJ Towell & Co – established in 1866 – is the oldest on the list. 

Of the top 100 family-run companies in the 2021 ranking, 32 are still chaired by the original founders or co-founders, and only three are headed by women: Mohsin Haider Darwish, headed by Lujaina and Areej Mohsin Darwish; the Olayan Group, run by Hutham Olayan; and the Orientals Group, chaired by Yasmine Khamis.

‘As new generations take over and families modernise, we may see more women in the top roles in future,’ stated the magazine. 

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