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Middle East revenues hit record high for top UK firms

UK Middle East revenue London Stock Exchange Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
Companies on the UK FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes saw Middle East revenues grow 7 percent year-on-year
  • Region’s contribution hits 21%
  • Rolls-Royce ranked first
  • Boost from green energy shift

Middle East revenues as a proportion of global sales for top UK companies have climbed to a new high, analysts have announced.

Companies listed on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes (the top 100 and the top 101st to 350th companies by market cap on the London Stock Exchange) saw their Middle East revenues grow 7 percent year-on-year to £13.8 billion ($17.3 billion).

Energy transition initiatives and the shift to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar made a big contribution. 

The Middle East’s revenue contribution for UK firms rose to 21 percent in 2022, the latest data available. This is up almost one percentage point on the previous year, according to the corporate finance adviser Lumina Capital.

In the FTSE 250, 21 of the top 27 companies with Middle East and North Africa (Mena) revenues reported an increase. with the transport, technology and industrial sectors growing fastest. All sectors improved except for oil and gas. 

Rolls-Royce (the aerospace and defence company, rather than the separate automobile maker, which is owned by BMW) ranked first for year-on-year increases in regional revenues, followed by Burberry. 

“UK PLC growth across the Middle East highlights the view that regional presence is a ‘must-have’ today, as opposed to the ‘nice-to-have’ view of three years ago,” said Andrew Nichol, a partner at Lumina.

Non-oil and gas revenues in Mena for FTSE-listed companies increased by 11 percent, or £1.1 billion in 2022. This reflects the drive to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to establish global leadership in energy transition, AI and digital transformation.

Lumina said innovative technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities will dominate 2024 as the region moves ahead with energy diversification and localisation programmes. 

“This will continue to drive UK PLCs to establish and grow their presence here,” according to the Lumina report.

UAE and Saudi Arabia trade

Last week the UAE’s minister of economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri met the British minister of state for trade policy Greg Hands in London as part of talks to forge closer trade and investment ties. Trade between the UK and UAE was £25.5 billion in the year to the end of Q2 2023, a year-on-year increase of 47.3 percent.

The free zone Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre also held its first trade roadshow of the year in London. More than 200 British companies joined the business district in 2023, taking the total to 2,080.

UK companies are also targeting growth in Saudi Arabia. Last week, the Saudi British Joint Business Council took a delegation of fintech firms and investors to Riyadh. 

The UK is the second largest global fintech hub after the US, investing $5.1 billion across 409 deals in 2023. Saudi Arabia aims to have more than 500 fintech companies by 2030, contributing nearly £3 billion in GDP.

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