Top-10 companies in Africa

The Africa Report published recently their list of Top-500 African companies in terms of turnover (2015 figures). Let’s focus on the Top-10. As the tables below show, at the level of the continent there’s hardly any variation relative to the previous rank, while sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) shows more action.

MTN, one of Africa’s Top-10 companies
MTN, one of Africa’s Top-10 companies

Top climbers:

  • Energies Nouvelles (#233), construction, Republic of Congo, $558.5 Million turnover (+74%).
  • Ercinn (#316), construction, Ivory Coast, $399.5 Million turnover (+73%).
  • Pioneers Holding (#231), financial services, Egypt, $559.7 Million turnover (+65%).
  • Palm Hills Development Co. (#279), construction, Egypt, $458.7 Million turnover (+56%).
  • PSG Group (#104), diversified, South Africa, $1.29 Billion turnover (+37%).

Top fallers:

  • Oando (#154), petroleum services, Nigeria, $802.6 Million turnover (-65%).
  • Middle East Oil Refineries (#91), petroleum services, Egypt, $1.53 Billion turnover (-56%).
  • Egypt Kuwait Holding Co. (#359), diversified, Egypt, $341.2 Million turnover (-52%).
  • Sonangol (#2), petroleum, Angola, $17.27 Billion turnover (-49%).
  • Grindrod (#198), transport, South Africa, $661 Million turnover (-45%).

Top-10 Companies in Africa

Rank ‘16 Rank ‘15 Company Industry Country
1 1 Sonatrach Petroleum Algeria
2 2 Sonangol Petroleum Angola
3 4 The Bidvest Group Diversified South Africa
4 3 Sasol Chemicals South Africa
5 5 Eskom Utilities South Africa
6 6 MTN Group ICT / Telecoms South Africa
7 7 Steinhoff International Holdings Wood and paper South Africa
8 8 ShopRite Holdings Retail South Africa
9 10 BidCorp (ex Bidvest Foods) Agribusiness South Africa
10 9 Imperial Holdings Diversified South Africa

Top 10 Companies in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa)

Rank ‘16 Rank ‘15 Company Industry Country
2 2 Sonangol Petroleum Angola
19 19 Real Estate Investments Zambia Construction Zambia
35 27 MTN Nigeria ICT / Telecoms Nigeria
45 52 Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage Refining Côte d’Ivoire
53 59 Dangote Cement Construction Nigeria
57 66 Ethiopian Airlines Air transport Ethiopia
68 80 Safaricom ICT / Telecoms Kenya
70 78 Total Kenya Petroleum services Kenya
76 88 Flour Mills of Nigeria Agribusiness Nigeria
79 87 Kansanshi Mining Mining Zambia

Only 3 sectors (construction, textiles and utilities) saw their overall turnover grow in 2015. By far, the largest climbers were the 50 construction companies in the ranking, which recorded 14% growth. In fact, 3 out of the 5 top climbers operate in the construction sector. All other sectors experienced decreases in overall turnover from 2014 to 2015.

For 3 years running, Africa’s Top-500 companies have been producing lower overall turnover. Since 2012 this figure has decreased from $736.8 billion to $610.4 billion. Besides, profits also crashed down hard between 2014 and 2015.

Potential explanations for this negative situation might be:

  • Currency shifts: two of Africa’s largest economies, Egypt and Nigeria, experienced foreign-currency crunches in 2016. They both combine for 3 out of the 5 top fallers in the continent.
  • Global uncertainty: the world is facing an environment of international political uncertainty that will surely impact several other socio-economic aspects such as trade, migration or investment. Unfortunately, Africa might suffer from it as well.

Variations in the Top-10 companies in SSA (excluding South Africa).

  • Companies that came out of the Top-10:
    • Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures, petroleum, Cameroon.
    • Oando, petroleum services, Nigeria. Oando has experienced the harshest drop in the Top-500 companies (-65% in their turnover from 2014 to 2015).
    • Compagnie Miniére de l’Ogooué, mining, Gabon.
  • Companies that came in the Top-10:
    • Flour Mills of Nigeria, agribusiness, Nigeria.
    • Kansanshi Mining, mining, Zambia.

Cameroon has lost their only representation in the Top-10 in SSA as Société Nationale des Hydrocarburs has dropped remarkably since last year. On the other hand, Zambia has gained one more spot within the Top-10. Kansanshi Mining has gained 8 positions and now joins the other Zambian company in the top of the ranking, Real Estate Investments Zambia.

The outlook is a bit gloomy. But Africa’s potential is there for the long run. It will take patient capital to build a brighter future. What do you think?

Nadim Elayan, Research Assistant at IESE Business School, collaborated in this article.


12 thoughts on “Top-10 companies in Africa

  1. Interesting finding, indeed. Thanks Nadim and Africa!
    While the statistics are important in explaining what has happened among the top 10 African MNEs’, this information -at the same time- gives us an opportunity to explore further and try to understand what conditions and opportunities would be appropriate to make these firms remain global or regional competitors. In most cases, African MNEs remain important to their country-of-origin. This orientation is likely going to have impact on them in terms of strategy, location and competitiveness. For example, if a Nigerian government relies on buying Treasury bills or Euro bonds to grow its economy, and when this approach doesn’t go well for the country, it may have an effect on its home-owned MNEs (e.g. state-owned MNEs, for example). Going forward, some of MNEs may opt for intra and extra competition regionally to ease negative effects on firms’ growth; some may wait until conditions are conducive before they re-bounce; and, some may look elsewhere … e.g. to the Asian markets … where opportunities could be within their capabilities. Thus, the statistics are really good to show us that these top 10 African MNEs are alive …
    Thanks again …

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