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Where do Egyptian companies stand in Forbes lists?

Egypt’s rankings in the Forbes lists make it clear that it is the world’s unnoticed underdog – take a look at where the country stands.
Ahmed Selim | 03.03.2014

The biweekly business magazine Forbes publishes worldwide rankings, evaluating companies and countries according to different criteria, for instance innovation, size, performance etc. Egypt’s companies have not enjoyed remarkable presence up till now. Here is an overview:

List #1: World’s Most Innovative Companies (last published: 2013)

The list contains 100 companies ranked according to their innovation premium, which is their market cap minus their net present value (NPV) of historic and expected future cash flows from existing businesses (based on algorithm formulas by HOLT/Credit Suisse). The innovation premium is expressed as a percentage of the company’s value. It represents investors’ confidence in the future growth of the company. The innovation premium shown on the tables are weighted averages of the innovation premiums in the past 5 years. The weights are 0.3 for the most recent year, 0.2 for years 2 to 4, and 0.1 for year 5.

To make it to the list, the company has to have at least 7 years of public data, and $10 billion in market cap. It has to spend at least 2.5% of revenues on R&D. Banks don’t make it to the list because of the R&D spending criterion. Energy companies don’t make it to the list as well because their market value depends more on commodity prices than innovation.

Egypt has 0 out of the 100 companies on the list. There is only one Egyptian company with a market cap over $10 billion, Orascom Construction Industries ($M 10,505). The second to fifth companies are Commercial International Bank ($M 4,702), Global Telecom Holding ($M 3,700), Telecom Egypt ($M 3,661), and Qatar National Bank AlAhli ($M 2,453) (numbers according to

List #2: World’s Biggest Public Companies (Global 2000) (last published: 2013)

The list is based on fundamentals by Thomson Reuters and Worldscope databases via FactSet Research Systems. The companies are based on four criteria; sales, profits, assets and March 15th closing price market value. First Forbes creates four separate lists based on the four criteria. The cutoff threshold for the four lists are $3.89 billion in sales, $232.2 million in profits, $7.85 billion in Assets, and $4.25 billion in market value, and a company must exceed at least one cutoff value to qualify for the Global 2000 list. The rank of a company on the Global 2000 list is based on the ranks in the four separate lists, with an equal weight given to each list.

Egypt has only 2 out of the 2000 companies on the list; Orascom Construction (ranked 1222), and Commercial International Bank (ranked 1966).


List #3: Global High Performers (last published: 2013)

Forbes looks again at the Global 2000 list, and chooses market leaders to be on the Global High Performers list. Forbes analyzes long and short-term sales growth and profit growth, return on capital and total return to shareholders. Then an industry specific ranking in generated for each of the 26 industries included. For a non-U.S. company to qualify for the list, it has to trade in the US as ordinary shares or American Depositary Receipts. Only Orascom Construction Industries made it to Forbes list of Global High Performers.


List #4: World’s Top 50 Microfinance Institutions (last published: 2007)

This list measures financial success not social impact of micro-lenders. Forbes data is drawn from Microfinance Information Exchange, Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited, and MicroRate. The list contains 50 microfinance institutions chosen from a pool of 641 micro-lenders. The choice criteria include gross loan portfolio, operating expense, operating expenses divided by average active borrowers as percentage of GNI per capita, outstanding balance if loans overdue by more than 30 days as percentage of gross loan portfolio, return on assets and return on equity. Forbes requires 2006 or 2005 audited financial statements. Only one Egyptian institution made it to the list. Dakahliya Businessmen’s Association for Community Development ranks 28th overall.


To put it in perspective, Egypt represents 0.639% of the global economy in terms of GDP (PPP constant 2005 $, 2012 WDI), 1.146% of the world in terms of population (2012 WDI), 0% of the World's Most Innovative Companies list, and 0.1% of the Global 2000 list. Egypt is the world's unnoticed underdog.


Img of Ahmed Selim
About the author: Ahmed Selim

Economics MA student at the Univ. of Alberta, Canada. Holds a BA in Business, MIU, Egypt. Interested in development econ. and business clusters.