Saudi’s STC beats Emirates to rank as Middle East’s most valuable brand

Emirates had led the Brand Finance top 50 list since 2010



Dubai carrier Emirates has lost its position as the most valuable brand in the Middle East in a ranking by Brand Finance.

The firm said Emirates had led the top 50 list since its conception in 2010 but there was a dramatic shift in 2017. (Scroll down for the top 20).

The brand value of the carrier dipped 21 per cent to $6.1bn, meaning it lost its top place to Saudi Telecom Company (STC) on a regional level while globally it was even overtaken by US carriers American, United and Delta, according to the firm.

“Last year, Emirates’ half-year profits plunged 75 per cent. The lower oil price has levelled the playing field for international rivals, leading to increased competition, driving down fares,” said Brand Finance CEO David Haigh.

“The discount rate applied to all Gulf airlines has increased in tandem with this less favourable environment, reducing long term value. Finally, the strength of the dollar has increased operating costs and also had a negative FX impact on all non-US domiciled brands.”

Emirates’ gulf airline rivals Etihad and Qatar Airways fared even worse, with the former dipping from 16th to 20th and the latter fourth to 11th.

In the 2017 list, STC’s brand value increased 11 per cent to $6.2bn, reflecting what Brand Finance Middle East managing director Andrew Campbell described as the firm’s departure “from its once traditional approach”.

“A clear indication of its success is the five-point increase in its brand strength index score, proving that putting some heart into it pays off,” he said.

In the wider Middle East list, Saudi Arabia was represented by 18 companies to the UAE’s 17 – down from 21 last year.

However, the kingdom continued to lag behind the UAE in total brand value, with the UAE accounting for 44 per cent of the top 40 to Saudi’s 32 per cent.

Qatar’s brand value has also grown with its representation standing at eight brands, compared to Kuwait’s four.

Oman was represented by just one brand Omantel – which rose from 47th to 45th with 4 per cent brand value growth, while Jordan and Lebanon also re-entered the list through Arab Bank and Bank Audi, valued at $382m and $368m respectively.

Bahrain was the only GCC country that did not feature with Ahli United Bank growing from $252m to $296m, just short of the $358m threshold.