Stand by to find the top 100 firms in Abu Dhabi

Private companies and government entities will be ranked according to their market value in a list of the UAE capital's 100 biggest firms.

Abu Dhabi is gearing up to hear about its top 100 biggest firms.

Private, semi-government and full government entities will be ranked according to market value, net profit and total assets based on their 2011 annual audit report in a bid to promote the capital as an investment destination.

The list is also intended to showcase the stability of Abu Dhabi's economic growth, drive transparency when it comes to releasing financial data, and encourage companies to perform better.

The financial stastistics of the top 100 will be made public in a January 26 event.

All 68 public companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange have already submitted their data, including the telecoms group Etisalat, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Union National Bank. The deadline for submission is January 15.

While Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, among the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, does not publish its earnings, several of Abu Dhabi's big entities, such as the government-owned Mubadala and International Petroleum Investment Company, as well as Etisalat do.

The telecoms company, for instance, reported net profits of Dh5.8 billion (US$1.57bn) in 2011, making it the most profitable company in the UAE. Etisalat had total assets of about Dh72.89bn that year, and has a market value of Dh80bn according to its website.

The Abu Dhabi Top 100 initiative is organised by Abu Dhabi-based Alliance Capital Group and Abu Dhabi Media, which owns The National.

The awards ceremony will be hosted by Abu Dhabi University.

"The Top 100 Companies in Abu Dhabi ranking will provide companies a chance to be recognised for their achievements in the marketplace and each of these companies will embody the true spirit of Abu Dhabi's credo, 'Good. Smart. Business. Profit.'," said Eisa Al Shamlan, the chairman of Alliance Capital, which lists installing roadside radars among its other business interests.

"The ranking will also provide [a] platform for healthy yearly competition for companies from all sectors to be in better ranking."

Mr Al Shamlan's private company has already submitted its 2011 financial details, but declined to provide them.

In a region where most companies - other than the big names - choose to keep their financials private, the ranking would incentivise some of these to publish their data.

"This is another form in which transparency can occur, to showcase the family owned businesses, what they are about, how well they are doing in a way, and how well they are ranked in relative to one another," said Terry Motiuk, the vice chancellor of Abu Dhabi University.

Some like Ramesh Taurani, who owns the Abu Dhabi-based Al Khaleej Steel Suppliers, does not intend to participate in the ranking. As a family business, he keeps the company's details closed to the public. "We are a small company, and not at all near the top 100, so we do not see any role for us in this [ranking],"he said.

Further categories in the ranking system in the coming years might encourage small to medium businesses to come forward, Mr Motiuk said, "to showcase how well they are doing because they are the bread and butter of the economy". As with any initiative being done for the first time, many would not apply this year, he said.

As the host, the Abu Dhabi University wants to align with the local businesses. It hopes this can lead to their graduates being hired or placed as interns in some of the emirate's biggest companies.

In a separate initiative, Abu Dhabi's top 10 publicly listed companies on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is also being ranked. The list for public companies is expected to be published on Saturday.

While an Abu Dhabi Top 100 Companies list is a new initiative in the UAE capital, countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been publishing similar lists for years.