UAE is Middle East’s top brand building country

Total value of UAE brands is nearly $15bn, 37% of the Mena total

The UAE has 15 brands out of the top 50 brands in Mena region in 2013, with a brand value touching $14.48 billion according to a recent study published by Brand Finance, an independent intangible assets and brand valuation consultancy.

According to the study, the value of UAE brands constitutes 37 per cent of the total value of $39.33 billion of the top 50 Mena brands.

Dubai’s Emirates airline, with a brand value of $4.1 billion, leads the list, followed by Etisalat ($3.4 billion). Leading the airlines and telecoms industries in the Mena region, the UAE also dominated the Mena real estate sector with Emaar Properties (brand value of $468 million) and the commercial services sector with DP World ($681 million).

Twenty-nine brands out of the 50 are from UAE and Saudi Arabia, constituting 70 per cent of the total brands’ value in the Middle East, a clear indication of the dominance of the two business power-houses of the Middle East.

However, Saudi Arabia comes second with a marginal difference, with a total of 14 brands compared to UAE’s 15 brands, but the kingdom recorded the highest ever growth of 11 per cent in total brand value.

Hany Mwafy, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East said: “With offices in more than 22 countries, Brand Finance publishes tables of the most valuable brands at both the global and regional level, providing crucial insights to brand managers and broader business community. Being the one and only brand valuation study to target the Mena region, the BrandFinance Mena 50 serves as a benchmark of the Middle East’s top brands.”

According to the study, Etisalat is the most valuable telecom brand in the Middle East, followed by STC. Etisalat’s Saudi brand Mobily had the highest growth at 55 per cent.

“The GCC is still in early stages of developing its own brands organically. However, the pace is accelerating, with Emirates, Etihad, Etisalat, Jumeirah and Al Jazeera leading the way by becoming truly global brands.

“The recent rebranding of Qtel to Ooreedoo demonstrates the growing self-confidence of GCC brands appealing globally to Arab audiences. Bold marketing actions and big marketing budgets are now driving the organic growth of GCC brands. In the coming year, we expect to see further growth in the number of acquired western brands, together with significant organic growth of home grown brands,” Mwafy commented.

This year the, Middle East Top 50 witnessed a growth of 5 per cent compared to 2012 which is below the global level of 2013 brands’ value growth at 12 per cent. However, the brand value to enterprise value of total Middle East brands is only 7 per cent compared to the global level of 16 per cent.

Though most of the banks in the Middle East witnessed a drop in their brand value, they still hold dominant positions in the top 50 List: 26 brands out of the top 50 are from the banking sector.

QNB leads the way in the 7th place, a remarkable achievement for a brand that was ranked 39th in 2009. Kuwait Finance House saw the highest growth ratio at 67 per cent and Arab Bank was the only brand carrying the Jordanian flag to be featured in the Top 50 Middle East list.

Mwafy added: “Businesses in the Middle East have successfully laid the foundations of strong tangible assets, whether in manufacturing, service or distribution. They must build on their existing successes focusing on the intangibles; emulating local champions such as Emirates, to capture market share, deliver for the global consumer and deliver superior financial performance.

“The GCC has some of the wealthiest investors and sovereign wealth funds in the world. The GCC has been investing in highly branded US and EU businesses. Shell, Barclays, Amex, Citi, Harrods, Sainsbury’s, Paris St German and Manchester City are just some of the global brands at the receiving end of GCC investor interest.”

The Brand Finance study was published in the MENA region in collaboration with Virtue PR & Marketing Communications.


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